Theo's out in the cold

SCOTT SEYMOUR -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

GRANDE PRAIRIE -- Theoren Fleury is still on the pine. For the second time in three nights, the former Calgary Flames star watched in the bleachers as the Horse Lake Thunder played. Fleury's playing status with the senior team in northwestern Alberta now in the appeal process.

The Thunder faxed an appeal with Hockey Alberta yesterday morning but will have to wait until next week before it's reviewed.

"He isn't playing because the appeal won't go through until Monday because the Hockey Alberta office is closed over the weekend," Thunder coach Glen Watson said yesterday afternoon.

The Thunder played the Spirit River Rangers, a divisional rival in the senior-level North Peace Hockey League, last night at the Horse Lake reserve, about 60 kilometres west of Grande Prairie.

It was the second NPHL game the 36-year-old Fleury has missed since the Thunder announced his signing earlier in the week.

Based on a Hockey Alberta policy created last October, Fleury was ruled ineligible as locked-out NHL players under contract in 2003-04 do not have permission to play senior hockey in the province.

The feisty winger is the centrepiece of a group of imports with professional experience -- former Vancouver Canucks tough guy Gino Odjick, Todd Holt, Dody Wood plus Greg and Sasha Lakovic are the others -- signed by Horse Lake this season in preparation for a run at the Allan Cup national senior AAA championship.

The Thunder is scheduled to begin a best-of-five Allan Cup provincial quarter-final qualifying series Wednesday night against the Stony Plain Eagles.

The Thunder still hopes to have Fleury in a jersey by then but Watson said Fleury will fly home today to wait out the appeal process.


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