October 28, 2010
Theo Fleury(notes) was on Puck Daddy Radio today for the full hour, an interview you can stream and download on TheScore.com. (It's also available in iTunes.)
Honestly, it was a booking we weren't sure would come through because it was made before Graham James, the former junior hockey coach Fleury has accused of sexual abuse when Fleury was as young as 14 years old, was arrested yesterday.
But Fleury did the full hour and was candid about James, his past, his sobriety and his career. We thank him for it ... and for informing us that this move with Jamie Salé on "Battle of the Blades" is called "The Jugular."
Among the revelations: Fleury found out about James's arrest roughly 45 minutes before the media was alerted.
"My reaction was that we were one step closer to some closure, and good on him to come back and face the charges, face the music," he said. "I kinda maybe thought it would take longer than it should have. He's in Guadalajara, Mexico. He was obviously fleeing something, whatever that is. Not only I was shocked, but all of Canada was shocked. Canada is one pedophile safer tonight."
The interview ranged from his demons to his spirituality to his "Battle of the Blades" performances to the NHL past and present, including these topics:
On what he's learned since his book, "Playing With Fire," made his sexual abuse public: "The biggest thing with this whole situation is that I believe, in my heart of hearts, that sexual abuse, sexual violence, rape, mental abuse, whatever it is, it's the biggest epidemic we have on the planet today, bar none. More than AIDS, more than cancer," he said. "That stats don't lie: One in three girls, one in six boys by the time they're 16 years old have been sexually molested."
On whether there are players in the NHL today who suffer from the same drug addiction he played through: "The money's too big nowadays and there's way too much competition for guys to be involved in what I was doing. I guess I was just one of those freak guys that was able to somehow play while I was doing what I was doing."
On his candidacy for the Hockey Hall of Fame, which was a main motivation in his comeback attempt with the Calgary Flames: "I think it's important to any hockey player that's had the career that I've had. I think the numbers speak for themselves, and I think the championships that I was a part of speak for themselves. I hope that what happened at the end of my career didn't hinder the way I played."
On NHL concussions and player safety: "It's not only in hockey but in life in general: We've lost respect for one another. That's the reason why guys are going after other guy's heads. We used to play this game without helmets."
Much, much more from Theo in his interview with myself and Joe Ross. Thanks for listening.