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Avery: I said some of the worst things imaginable during hockey career

Feb 8, 2013, 9:56 AM EDT

Sean Avery Getty Images

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.

  1. valoisvipers - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    He is right up there with Matthew Barnaby in the sh*t disturber department but if you as a player is thinking about them then they have you off your game and they did their job.

  2. killerpgh - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Didn’t Avery talk trash on Jason Blake about having cancer?

    • Kristenaux - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      Yes, he did! Class wasn’t one of his strong suits & it would have been nice to read this article and see even a glimmer of remorse for some of the classless things he said to people.

      • stakex - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        You have obviously never played any sort of compedative hockey. There is no such thing as “class” on the ice when it comes to the verbal war that happens out there. Anyone who tells you otherwise is blowing smoke up your ass.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 8, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        I call bs on that. Players have a certain level of respect for each other on the ice and camaraderie off of it. They say some bad stuff in the heat of the moment but generally it’s nothing they can’t leave on the ice. But cracking on a guy’s cancer? There’s no place for that anywhere in society. “Compedative” sports is no excuse.

      • rg3isvictory - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:56 PM

        Avery is/was one of those guys that you hated playing against your team but would welcome with open arms to your team. His presence change the NYR vs Caps playoff series very quickly! He showed up and started rattling the goalie and defenseman and the Caps went from smooth sailing to grinding out a hard win!!! He did his job well and for people who want to speak of hockey and class in the same sentence is ridiculous. Teams that are without ‘classless players’ don’t travel very far into the playoffs! Ask the Caps what it’s like to get bullied night in and night out! Obviously you need lots of talent but without the nasty m- f-ers that talent gets muted!

  3. seanaveryrules - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Sean Avery was by FAR the best player EVER!


    • Kristenaux - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      Watch much hockey? Apparently not…

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 8, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      seanaveryrules did not specify president of what, but if they meant of the US, well, ever so sorry but Mr Avery was born in Canada and is thus ineligible for the US presidency. But he may well be among the very best players ever to come out of Pickering’s Dunbarton High School.

  4. davebabychreturns - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    The thing Sean Avery said that he regrets the most is that Balenciaga’s Spring 2010 collection was weak.

  5. ethanmacleod1685 - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Say what you want about me but I for one will miss Avery and his antics

  6. flyerguy73 - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    The guy will is and will always be a tool. The NHL is WAY better off without him.

    • seanaveryrules - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      are you insane? Sean Avery was the best player in the league…far and away

  7. dt58 - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    D bag

  8. flyerguy73 - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    “are you insane? Sean Avery was the best player in the league…far and away”

    Said Avery’s boyfriend. What an idiot.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      How is he any different than Rinaldo, for the sake of conversation? Or was he just a tool because he was on another other team?

      • smurfposse - Feb 8, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        He’s not, they both are mouthy fools who feel the need to play that game. Whether or not that’s got a place in hockey is for the coaches and GMs to debate. Nothing the fans say have any bearing on whether there’s a ‘true art’ to being a classless disturber. But they are the same player in different eras.

      • ironyisadeadscene - Feb 8, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        Or Matt Cooke? Well the Matt Cooke before he almost got kicked out of the game.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Feb 8, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        Did you just answer your own question, then?

      • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        Rinaldo doesn’t seek the spotlight like Avery. Avery went for gasps on everything he said, nothing was out of bounds. Rinaldo knows some of his actions are wrong. Avery, meanwhile, has no sense of right or wrong. He may be the cockiest dbag in NHL history.

  9. charlutes - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Yes, let’s for some reason celebrate this turd.

  10. ethanmacleod1685 - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    You people have no idea what your talking about. The NHL needs a villan, we have too many heros, even guys like Steve Ott and Matt Cooke are considered heros. This is why we’re not a popular as the other major league sports!

    Rant over!

    • stakex - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      There is certainly some truth to that. Drama and controversy actually help a sports populartity since idiot Americans (I’m an American, so its ok that I call us idiots) just love that crap. Just look at what people watch on TV…. they don’t wants shows filled with heros all day long, do they?

      A few more guys like Avery scattered around in the NHL would certainly make things more entertaining. Home fans love them, other temas want to kill them. It makes for a great situation.

      • colonelfancy - Feb 8, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        Very well said. Look at how much Terrell Owens is gloriifed for being a player who destroyed every locker room he’s joined, but if you put a camera in his face, people tuned in, and he was followed religiously. A couple of years ago when Avery was waving his stick in Marty Brodeur’s face, this was a a daily topic on the ESPN shows. Sean had the mettle to withstand it, dare I say he embraced it. Sadly, Torts, a guy who tried to jab fans with hockey sticks, surprisingly had a short leash on him.
        Avery added just enough of the bad attention and good attention to the NHL to make it a little more relevant. (Bad, because it gets labeled as goonery and talking heads will say hockey is still in the dark ages, which is untrue. Good, because it gradually becomes a hot topic, garnering more interest on a wider, more watched network to be viewed by people who might tune in otherwise. If they are captivated by the competetive play instead of waiting for a train wreck, then you win more potential fans.) The NHL could use some more polarizing guys for the U.S. markets. P.K. Subban would’ve fit like a glove in Boston.

    • smurfposse - Feb 8, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      Celebrate a Matt Cooke?? Pre 2012 or since? Kid has skills, never needed to elbow the amount of players he did, and cheap shots aren’t something to be heralded. On the other hand, whether it be Crosby or Lemieux, whoever spoke with him before last season really put him on notice. He has been a model citizen since, and actually put up some decent numbers for the time he had on ice last season. So kudos for Cooke shaking his head, and getting in the game, but in no way can I condone the irresponsible play this guy was involved with.
      Ott… I donno what to say… similar in respect to Cooke but still does more than his fair share to stir things up. Could be a better all around player if he just played hockey rather than turn into Goliath.

  11. flyerguy73 - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Hey hockey withdrawal go somewhere else please. You make yourself look stupid on almost every story here. Please just go away.

  12. seanaveryrules - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:03 PM


    Really?? Name ONE player in the world better than Sean Avery

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      Here are a few:


  13. seanaveryrules - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Sean Avery should be a 1st ballot hall of famer

  14. seanaveryrules - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Leave it to the town DRUNK to think some HACKS from the Hall of Fame are better hockey players than Sean Avery….

  15. seanaveryrules - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Zac Rinaldo has zero talent. He is only in the league to start trouble. Avery had enough talent that if he wanted to he could have behaved and just played

  16. dt58 - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    So what your saying is that you have to run your mouth to be competitive? So guys like Yzerman and Sakic were just filling roster spots? Please remove head from rear-end!!! It is better to have people think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Not my problem that your biggest goal in life is to pump back on Avery…

  17. dipspit55 - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    “Wow this is a nice purse “-actual quote from Sean Avery pretty much sums him up aswell

  18. pwilson264 - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    lets face it, everybody hates players like every, intil their on your team. go avery.

  19. buffalo65 - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    By replying to trolls you encourage them.

  20. Woody Bass - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Avery— like him or not was a great player wish he was a Bolt

  21. skarfacci - Feb 9, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong but he never had off ice legal issues. So what’s the problem.

  22. seanaveryrules - Feb 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Well he was arrested for allegedly pushing a police officer that broke up a party of his lol the charges were dropped tho

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