on November 21, 2009
This is a great book ,it will blow your mind what this guy went through
on April 22, 2014
I wanted to read this book after seeing Theo figure skating in a pairs competition on CBC, it is where I think he and his partner skated to a song he wrote and sang. The story took me back to my drink rat days, figure skating practices, buying extra ice time, then coming back to watch my brother playing hockey, in another small town like Russel Manitoba. I grew up just 100 miles from the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border, and there were very similar things I was into, just like Theo and friends in the small town. The only thing I did not like was the frequent use of the "f-word", but it is part of his personality, so let it go near the front of the book. All in all it was a memory stirring, very interesting book, learned a lot of NHL tidbits I had always wondered about, since hockey was important in our life. Nice to see Trent Yawney mentioned, as he grew up across the street from my family, and I babysat him a few times. Yes, read this book, an honest story from rags to riches, then riches of a heart, how anyone can go home again.
on January 5, 2013
Being a die hard Montreal Canadiens I wasn't going to read this book when it came out. Fleury not my favorite player, given his colorful personality on the ice and my hatred for the Flames after the '89 Finals. But got a new tablet for Christmas and seeing his book on Kobo for $5. I was anxious to see how new technology worked.
Overall, I liked the book. I couldn't read the chapter on '89 finals. Graded it a 3 as some details in there not fit for the younger reader. I don't understand the Graham thing. If he was abusing him so why would Fleury help Graham buy the Hitmen? When he would know Graham would be back in control of teenage boys again? Also, why go on trip to Disneyland with Graham? I know by time I am 14, if I was disgusted by Graham like Theo said in book, surely would not enjoy a vacation with him! Many oxymorons in there.
Hard to believe how Fleury could go thru so much money. Came to the conclusion main reason Fleury is sober today has to do with him being broke. He doesn't have the cash to live exciting lifestyle anymore. I just finished reading Derek Sanderson's book also, both players had similar fates. Both were once stars, then signed the big money, discovered drugs and booze, plenty of women, lived the life. Lost all their cash, found the lord in the end after many detox and rehab visits. Hope Fleury can continue his life like Sanderson. Stay sober, find a meaningful career after all this, and go on and help young people from same traps they fell into.
This is a startlingly honest autobiography that any true hockey fan (in particular the Canadian ones) will just eat up. Giving you all the dirt and behind the bench information you weren't aware you wanted to know. It's a gritty look at the real NHL, inside the locker rooms, the players, the coaches, the contracts, the money and all that brings to a small town boy who makes it into the big leagues. Oh course here we also get the well publicized issue of Theo's sexual abuse and eventual fall from grace through drugs and alcohol, walking away from the NHL and millions of dollars in the middle of his career.
I will admit this started out a little slow for me, with a lot of (too many) names, stats and specific plays thrown out that as a casual hockey fan I had trouble caring about. (True fans will love it though) However by the end I couldn't put this down, becoming completely engrossed in Theo's struggles, personal life and rise and fall within the NHL. He doesn't hold back anything here and I found it interesting that someone with such a HUGE ego (which is off-putting at times) could talk so honestly about his demons and what a mess he made of his life when he obviously thinks so much of himself.
Theo's story begins in Russell Saskatchewan -well after the whole suicidal, cocaine infused, gun in mouth, I hate the world prologue that is. A small kid with a lot of anger and a less then ideal upbringing, who discovers hockey as a means of salvation and escape. From day one it was obvious Theo had a gift; walking by himself down to the outdoor rink at the age of 5 with a pair of rusty skates and a broken stick. Three hours later they had to force him to go home. His goal was always to play in the NHL and from the time he was 6 until he got called up in 1989 with the Calgary Flames that was exactly what he was going to do.
We follow Theo through the juniors and minor leagues into Calgary with subsequent trades to New York, Colorado and Chicago. We witness him winning the world junior championship, Stanley Cup, Canada cup, Olympic gold and with 450 career goals we watch a sad, lonely man self destruct in a hurricane of cocaine, alcohol, gambling and strippers. Unable to handle the pressure of the media, ex wives, coaches and the constant drug testing and mandatory rehab Theo simply walks away from it all, spending the next 6 years playing in a beer league and partying. The extent of Theo's self destruction was unbelievable and truly sad, the absolute waste of it all.
Throughout Theo makes no apologies for his behaviour, laying it all on the table. And while much was made in the media regarding the abuse he suffered by Coach Graham James it wasn't discussed here to the extent I would've expected. It's my opinion though that it played a huge part in his becoming an addict.
In the end his story comes full circle so that within the final chapters, we also get to see a happily married and sober for the first time in his adult life Theo make a comeback. At the age of 41 and once again playing for Calgary he redeems himself in a 4-4 shootout against the New York Islanders before retiring to life of sobriety and public speaking.
on February 23, 2011
Theo Fleury is a paradox in the world of pro sports.
A guy who physically beat the odds and climbed to the apex in professional hockey, not only making the NHL when he was discounted and discouraged, but to go on to represent his country to win Olympic Gold, the World Championships and a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames.
Few players if any, in professional hockey can profess to have risen to his level of accomplishment.
This is the real story here.
In as much as he lived in anarchy with too much money, booze, drugs, gambling and women, Fleury was a by-product of the free access which is the marker of an elite player in professional sports.
His navigation of his vices while playing at the highest competitive levels was remarkable as he continued to rise as one of the NHL's top paid, high quality players.
As a player, he knew no boundaries on ice, and the same went for his personal life.
His story is an inspiration for those who are told "you can't". He not only "did", but he conquered his off ice battles with as much bravado as he did on the ice.
This book is as raw as you get. From a little boy growing up on the frozen prairie of Manitoba, surrounded by family dysfunction and addiction, he talks openly and honestly about his rise to fame.
Fleury pulls no punches, and didn't appear to sugar-coat any of his suffering and off-ice troubles. He talks about those who helped him, those like Wayne Gretzky who still recognized Fleury's talent during his darkest hours and those who outright shunned him because of his addictions.
This is an unadulterated inside view of pro hockey through the lens of an addict who participates in it, and is as close as you are going to get to the inner workings and hypocrisy of NHL teams, the league and the players themselves.
Fleury and Kirstie McLellan Day do a wonderful job of bringing his agony to life, as well as inspiring those who desire to play professional hockey or simply to rid themselves of similar demons which he successfully has accomplished.
A great easy read, and a wonderful way to really understand Theo Fleury's story, first hand.
on November 30, 2009
My husband really enjoyed the book and I even read a bit and wanted to read more. It's interesting to read about his life and how it was so hard for him. TO hear it through his own words is interesting.
on January 15, 2014
This book certainly gave a new perspective on the junior and NHL hockey Structure. The author's honesty in sharing his experiences and perspectives made this book a very good read. The language had a raw appeal reflecting the author's voice as personal history unfolded. His ultimate willingness to step forward and reveal through this book and public forums just how wrong things can go when a vulnerable teen leaves home to play hockey provided some riveting reading. A book which is a must read for anyone with children, hockey family or not.
on December 15, 2010
Although Theo is not a literary great by any means, (the contrary maybe) this book is an exceptional read. I recommend this book to anyone who has been privy to difficulties in life. Whether your own adversity or that of loved one within your circle of relatives and friends. It's NOT just for hockey fans. A very entertaining, interesting, thought provoking and emotional story. It's as I mentioned "exceptional"...........Darrell
on November 20, 2009
Great man, great book!
Here is another winner you will love & someone who played against Theo:
Snowboarding, ice hockey, survival + much more; this book will blow your minds... just read the prologue & you will not put this book down until your final sigh as you close the cover! It is amazing, this inspirational book that will forever change you. The National Library of Congress has purchased this book for all returning veterans from the war it is so good & will be a feature film in the next year.
on June 18, 2013
This was a wonderful story. My family and I had the opportunity to meet Theo at a horse race. After meeting him, I ordered the book as soon as I could. This story is deep, heart wrenching, and totally relateable. I loved this book so much. My entire family has read it - my mom, dad, and brother - and we all enjoyed it for different reasons. You don't have to love hockey to love this book.