Away from the rink, he's one of the most engaging and magnetic personalities in the NHL not named Roenick; a blessing of money quotes and celebrity behavior, and a hockey player who isn't afraid to play the tabloid game when so many others shun the spotlight.
So while we had some fun with his internship with Vogue, we also acknowledged that it was a rather ingenious way to get closer to amazing women and that he was following his dream of entering the fashion industry, catcalls from haters be damned.
With his internship over, Avery's the guest editor at MensVogue.com this week. He's already written a blog post about Smith & Mills, a "secret spot" in Tribeca that's "the only place that will play a Radiohead record from start to finish while you eat the best oysters in town."
Avery helped edit a countdown of the worst uniforms in sports history, including the epic Anaheim Ducks' mighty third-jersey; the Los Angeles Kings' ghostly playing card uniform; the Vancouver Canuck's red, black and yellow jersey (which we're quite fond of, actually); and, in his best selection, the Dallas Stars' fallopian tubes third-jersey.
But the real attraction is "In the Crease," a lengthy diary from Avery regarding his time as a Vogue intern. It's a hell of a read, and might even turn an Avery hater into an Avery fan.
The story takes us through the stages of his internship and the evolution of his hobby. Like how fellow players deal with his fashion obsession: "I'd be lying to you if I said that I don't take some verbal abuse from opposing players for the clothes I wear, or for my interest in something - 'fashion' - that I think sounds a little frightening to narrow-minded blockheads."
He talks about being vetted to find out "if I was actually here to work or just to meet girls." He tells a rather "Devil Wears Prada"-esque story about a cafeteria accident that Eric McErlain of FanHouse relayed earlier today. Avery even compares the elation of good fashion to winning in the Stanley Cup playoffs: "Was a young woman's anticipation of a night on the town in her favorite new dress just a different version of a 12-year-old boy watching his favorite player No. 16 dominate New Jersey in five games? The world may never know - but that's what I think."
It's the end of the piece that struck us, because it's easy to buy into the fact that Sean Avery is a world-class, unredeemable jerk rather than a guy who is, rather admirably, living his dream:
Here's what it comes down to: I make millions of dollars a year at a "job" that I consider to be pure fun. The people at Vogue don't have that kind of salary. What they do have is a group of people working creatively and relentlessly because of their strong passion and love for fashion. I would challenge you to find another workplace - outside of sports or nursing - that has that.
I hope to play hockey for several years to come. But after that I want to be a part of something creative - either styling or editing at a magazine. Being guest editor for Mensvogue.com this week is really the first time that I've been responsible for putting content together myself. And it's opened up a new interest that I didn't even know I had.
So that's what I learned. And if you'd like to learn something, consider this: If you feel like teasing this hockey player about an obsession of his that you might think is a little unusual, go right ahead. Just know that you may get your ass kicked by a very expensive pair of shoes - and that they'll probably match both my belt and my shirt.
Look, the guy's not exactly a saint, but it's not like there hasn't been some extreme overreaction to his antics by the buttoned-up crowd.