Theo Fleury Shares Inspirational Story at T-Wolves Legacy Breakfast
Prince George, B.C. – You could have heard a pin drop during Theo Fleury’s sold-out keynote address at this year’s third annual UNBC Timberwolves Legacy Breakfast inside the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre gymnasium this morning.
The ex-NHL star turned best-selling author and motivational speaker shared his life story – from his turbulent childhood in rural Manitoba to being sexually abused as a teenager through to his successes as an NHL player and struggles with alcoholism.
“I lived at the rink at a young age and I knew what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be,” he told the crowd. “My goal from the age of six was to play in the NHL.”
Of course, he went on to more than fulfill that goal – winning six championships along the way, including a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal.
But it didn’t come without challenges. For example he racked up 472 points as a junior hockey player but was sexually assaulted over 100 times by his junior coach.
He said it later came back to haunt him as an NHL player when he was eventually kicked out of the league in 2003 because of his inability to stay sober.
Fleury said he hit rock bottom in Santé Fe New Mexico where he was spending $3,500 a week on cocaine and drinking vodka “by the case.”
He said he saw the light after he “went on the bender of all benders,” and considered suicide but thought better of it.
Fleury would go on to fight those demons and become a best-selling author and motivational speaker. He’s also an honourary Chief, and a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Canadian Humanitarian Award
The main beneficiary of his speech of course was UNBC’s athletic program.
Loralyn Murdoch, director of athletics and recreation at UNBC, said the fundraising goal today was $50,000.
“This breakfast is vitally important to the program. It’s strictly for scholarships and bursaries and it probably raises about a third of what we need overall for the year.”
She says last year’s legacy breakfast featuring ex-CFL star Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons raised just over $50,000.