Thursday, October 28, 2010

Playing With FirePlaying With Fire
Those of you not tuned in to hockey may have missed this story, and it's a pretty incredible, gut-wrenching tale.

Theo Fleury was all-star player for the Calgary Flames - a small-but-tough guy who could score (over 400 goals in his NHL career) but was even more notorious for being something of a trouble-maker on and off the ice. A suspension for failing drug tests - which he later admitted was part of a larger drug and alcohol addiction - effectively ended his career in 2003.

Fleury made news again a year ago, partly for an attempted comeback (he had a tryout with the Flames and played a few exhibition games, but didn't make the roster), but moreso for his autobiography. Playing With Fire detailed his hockey life and substance abuse problem but also dropped another bombshell: accusing his junior hockey coach of years of sexual molestation.

I post this now because of word that the coach, Graham James, who has already served prison time for abuse of young teenagers on his team, has been arrested again following 9 new complaints, including Fleury's.

Theo claims that his victimization was a direct cause of the substance abuse problems and bouts with rage that have plagued his adult life. Whether that's true or not, here's hoping he and all of James' victims can find some measure of peace and resolution. Failing that, hopefully this puts an end to his pattern of abuse, and saves some other kid or 2 the same torment.

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