Retired NHLer Sean Avery has little to do with hockey anymore — he says he’s stopped watching entirely — but still has fondness for people from his Ranger days.
One is good friend and business partner Henrik Lundqvist.
The other, surprisingly, is head coach John Tortorella.
“[Tortorella] actually probably was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Avery told the New York Daily News. “A month after I was done playing, I made the transition to what is a dream job for most people.”
Avery, now a restauranteur (he owns a spot in Tribeca with Lundqvist) and “chief strategic officer” at Manhattan’s Lipman advertising agency, said Torts played a key role in his transition to post-hockey life.
“Part of it was the relationship that I had with him as a coach,” he explained. “It definitely helped me make the transition and have a successful career.”
Those remarks are curious, especially since Avery and Tortorella routinely butted heads during their time together in New York (here’s a good historical recap).
In late March, with the feud seemingly dead and buried, Avery brought it back to life by saying the Rangers needed to “fire this clown” and that “players hate him.”
Torts didn’t respond, but team captain Ryan Callahan did.
“Sean Avery’s comments solely represent his own thoughts and opinions,” Callahan told the The Bergen Record. “He did not speak for us as a team when he was here and certainly does not now.”
It’s hard to imagine what’s changed in less than two months, but Avery sounds as though he’s at peace with hockey no longer being a part of his life.
“I haven’t watched a game since I retired,” he explained. “I have a pretty demanding schedule, a new career. I’m more interested in that, really. I’m immersed in it. I had a great career. I loved playing.
“It’s a great sport, but it has nothing to do with my current life.”