Former New York Rangers forward Sean Avery announced his retirement from the National Hockey League on a reality television show.
The 31-year-old Avery, speaking on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” said his 10-year career has come to an end. He was assigned to the Rangers’ minor-league affiliate Connecticut Whale on Dec. 31, two months after fans at Madison Square Garden chanted for his return to the NHL.
“I am officially retired,” he said last night during the show’s online segment. “I threw my skates in the Hudson.”
Avery has not yet filed retirement papers with the NHL, league spokesman John Dellapina said today in an e-mail. Pat Morris, Avery’s agent, didn’t return a message left at his office.
Avery, who was an intern with the fashion magazine Vogue in 2008, told the New York Post today that he intends to retire at the end of the season to pursue a career with an advertising agency. He is in the final year of a four-year, $15.5 million contract that he signed with the Dallas Stars in 2008, according to the Post.
“I guess that was my retirement press conference,” he told the newspaper. “I couldn’t be happier about the situation.”
Avery played 15 games for the Rangers this season after being recalled from the Whale in November, a move prompted by chants and banners in New York’s home arena. Avery scored three goals and had 21 minutes in penalties for the Rangers before being sent back to the AHL.
Avery last played for the Whale on Jan. 27. He was told this month that he would be left off the team’s postseason roster and that he was no longer needed at practice or games, ESPN reported.
Waived by Dallas
Avery played with the Rangers from 2006 to 2008 before joining the Stars as a free agent. He was waived after 23 games in Dallas when he angered management with negative comments about actress Elisha Cuthbert, his former girlfriend, dating another NHL player. The league also suspended him for six games, calling his remarks detrimental to the sport.
Avery returned to the Rangers that season and drew a response from the league in the 2008 playoffs, when he spent a 5-on-3 power play waving his stick and arms in the face of New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. The following day, the NHL changed its rules to make such action a two-minute unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.
Avery and Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Downie were the only NHL players with more than 20 points and 150 penalty minutes in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Avery led the NHL in penalty minutes during the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons.
He had 247 points and 1,533 penalty minutes in his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Rangers and Stars.
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