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Theo's years of hardship

Theo Fleury comes clean about the sexual abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of his former...

Theo Fleury comes clean about the sexual abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of his former junior coach. (Sun Media/Darren Makowichuk)

BILL KAUFMANN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:36 PM ET

Former Flames star Theoren Fleury says he was sexually assaulted dozens of times by convicted pervert coach Graham James -- crimes the ex-NHLer claims led him to later squander virtually all his hockey wealth on inebriated rampages.

In excerpts from his new book in Maclean's Magazine, Fleury tells of how James wore down resistance to the coach's advances while he spent two nights a week at the older man's home in the 1980s.

"Graham was on me once or twice a week for the next two years," Fleury told Maclean's, confirming what many have suspected for years after Fleury's one-time minor league teammate Sheldon Kennedy blew the whistle on James in 1996.

He also describes a road trip he and Kennedy took with James to Disneyland in which his teammate was sexually abused in the car's front seat while he slept in the back.

"Think about how sick that is," said Fleury, while also recalling taking turns sleeping with James in motel rooms on the same trip.

The interview comes a week before the release of Fleury's book Playing with Fire in which he alleges harrowing years under James' tutelage as a member of the WHL's Moose Jaw Warriors, which he joined at the age of 16.

The ex-Flame said he decided not to reveal his secret in the 1980s for fear the stigma attached to it would have aborted any hope of an NHL career.

Instead, Fleury said he numbed the trauma with vast amounts of booze, drugs, gambling and strip club romps that he believes consumed most of the $50 million he'd made in the NHL.

"I would go five, six, seven, eight levels below the streets of New York and party with freaks, transvestites, strippers and all kinds of shady people," he said.

Following Kennedy's revelations he'd been assaulted by James 350 times, his former coach was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in prison.

It's believed James now lives in Montreal.

Fleury -- who thrilled hockey fans with a gritty bid at a comeback with the Flames this fall -- said he's made peace with his parents who he once accused of allowing him to fall into James' clutches.


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