Nearly two years after he last played a professional game, Andre Deveaux is back on the ice as a member of Sparta Prague of the Czech Extraliga.
The 32-year-old signed a month-long tryout deal with Sparta and through two games has recorded a goal and an assist in a pair of wins for the third place side.
It was during a March 2015 Hockeyallsvenskan game in Sweden between Rogle and Vasteras that Deveaux viciously slashed Per Helmersson as the two teams warmed up.
Deveaux was responding to a hit by Helmersson in a previous game and played another game in their series before video of the incident surfaced online. Rogle quickly terminated his contract and the Swedish Hockey Association banned him for 11 months.
There was even potential legal action against Deveaux, but Swedish prosecutors eventually dropped their investigation after he left the country.
Deveaux is now feeling healthy enough to play again, despite dealing with concussion issues after the Helmersson hit. He’s back because he wanted his hockey career to end on his own terms as he told Derek O’Brien of the Champions Hockey League website.
“The short answer is: I didn’t want hockey to end the way it did,” the 32-year-old Bahamian-Canadian said. “I’ve been playing hockey since I was five years old, I’ve been playing professional hockey 11 or 12 years now, and the way it ended in Sweden was unfair, the way I was treated was unfair, it left a bad taste in my mouth and I didn’t want that to be my last memory of hockey.”
Next week Deveaux will return to Sweden when Sparta takes on Frolunda in the Champions Hockey League final. It will be his first time back in the country since the 2015 incident, and he’s ready for what may come.
“Hopefully I can go there and help the team win,” he said. “I was already horribly mistreated there, so it can’t get any worse than it was.”
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