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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 October 2005, 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK
Fleury's Giant ambition
Theo Fleury
NHL veteran Theo Fleury is the Giants' biggest ever signing
Theo Fleury arrived in Belfast this week boasting an incredible record of achievement which includes an Olympic gold medal and a Stanley Cup triumph.

The Canadian right wing enjoyed a 15-year career in the NHL with Colorado, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames.

This 37-year-old veteran has nothing more to prove so it is only proper to ask why he has made the bold decision to join the Belfast Giants.

"The reason I am coming to Belfast is because I love the game," Fleury told BBC Sport.

"I am just at a point of my life where I want to try something different - my passion for the game remains, my skill level has not deteriorated and my mind has not deteriorated.

"This is not a step down, it is a new opportunity. I try not to look in the past but to the future."

Fleury was asked to come to the Northern Ireland capital by his business partner and friend Jim Yaworski, an investor in the Elite League club.

"My fiancee and I agreed it would be a wonderful experience for the both of us," added Fleury.

"I do not know much about Belfast, only that the Titanic was built there.

"But since I have signed I have met people with Irish ancestry and they said it is a wonderful place to be."

I don't forsee any difficulty in adjusting to the pro game in the UK.
Theo Fleury

Fleury has battled against alcoholism and drug abuse throughout his career although he said he wished to deal with it privately and that "it was not for discussion anymore".

The Olympic gold medal was won with Team Canada at the last Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City while he was at Calgary Flames for the Stanley Cup success in 1989.

He scored over 1,000 points in as many games in the NHL before quiting top-flight ice-hockey two years ago.

His focus now is on bringing success to the Giants and promoting a sport which struggles to make an impact on this side of the Atlantic.

"I was not having fun in the NHL and it got to become a job. I told myself that when I felt that way I would retire," he said.

"I bring to Belfast my 15 years experience of the NHL and I do not forsee any difficulty in adjusting to the pro game in the UK.

"I know the game in game in the UK is becoming more and more popular and my arrival is a great opportunity for the league to get more exposure.

"It is all about playing the game I love and I look forward to being part of a championship winning team with the Giants."

Giants line up NHL veteran Fleury
27 Jul 05 |  Ice Hockey
Giants secure signing of Fleury
23 Aug 05 |  Ice Hockey
Belfast 3-3 Coventry
06 Oct 05 |  Ice Hockey

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