Sean Avery was known for his ability to get under his opponent’s skin and now that his hockey career is over, he’s not about to hide from his past.
“Over the 12 years that I played I said some of the worst things that you could ever possibly imagine. And every time I did it because I thought that it was going to give me or my team an advantage,” Avery told TSN’s Michael Landsberg.
“You can pull hundreds of examples of things that I said over my career, but the bottom line is I was extremely good at it.”
Avery played in 580 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, and Dallas Stars. He spent 1,533 minutes in the sin bin, but wasn’t just an enforcer. Over the course of his career, he displayed some offensive skills as well.
“I remember Steve Yzerman telling me to just play because you’re a good player,” Avery said. All the same, he had no interest in changing his game.
“I was what I was,” he said, later adding, “Nobody was going to tell me differently.”
Avery’s career ended with a brief AHL stint and he retired at 32, but he feels the timing was right.
“Why would I fight this anymore?” Avery asked. “First of all, it’s not healthy. Second, it’s not fun – no matter how much money you’re getting paid.”
That doesn’t mean his time in the NHL is something that he regrets. He was happy over the course of his career, but he’s also enjoying what he does now. Among other things, Avery is serving on the board of Athlete Ally, which promotes understanding and openness regarding people’s sexual orientations.
Before he official hung up his skates he was also working with the Lipman agency.
“It’s safe to say that nobody has as much fun as me,” Avery said.