features hitherto-unthinkable passages in which he discusses his love of Shakespeare, the value of mindfulness, and the fact that he cried during his NHL hearing for making his most infamous comment, about how Dion Phaneuf was dating his “sloppy seconds” (i.e., actress Elisha Cuthbert).
He doesn’t claim to be an entirely reformed character—“I’m not even going to claim to be a good guy,” he writes—and there’s more than a hint of score-settling throughout the book.
Nonetheless, Avery does want to prove he’s more than a “hate-filled wrecking ball.” Having left the league in 2012 after 10* seasons with the Red Wings, Kings, Stars and, most notably, the Rangers, Ontario-born and –raised Avery has reinvented himself as a restaurateur, an advertising executive and, recently, an actor; he says he’ll soon be shooting “a significant role” in the new movie by director Peter Berg (.
As an author (with help from hockey historian Michael Mc Kinley), he’s a refreshingly unvarnished raconteur, at times as entertaining as he was on the ice.
As long as I had it in my head that I was a hockey player, I was going to do everything to make sure that I was there, even though staying there, I put my own nail in my own coffin. Q: During your time with the Rangers, your friend Derek Boogaard died of an overdose.
You describe the way drug addictions take hold among players, and how you would regularly take injections of Toradol during the playoffs, despite the threat of liver damage.
Now, he’s written a memoir he hopes every aspiring teenage hockey player will read.
“I think there’s a lot of life lessons to be learned in this book, through mistakes that I made,” he says.
Q: You write about playing with the New York Rangers under coach John Tortorella, and how you kept hoping he would realize the value of your hard work—but how nonetheless, he kept benching you and sending you down to the minors.
A: I’m playing a CIA agent, and I have a big scene at the start where I go into a house and kill a bunch of people… I’ve never fought for pretend, which is kind of interesting. Q: The entertainment aspect of fighting should be familiar to you … I used to spin my helmet; it started to become a signature for me—it was the only time that you could have the entire arena stop and just look at you.
I always thought guys who’d go toe-to-toe with each other was the stupidest thing in the world, because all you need to do is make sure you land on top of that guy, and then the fans cheer. Q: You write, “The NHL discourages individuality because they like to control things.” Was that a governing aspect of your career—trying to wrest control back from the league?
I was in rehab with crack addicts and people that had been alcoholics for 40 years.
Long story short, I was always trying to stay ahead of them.
A: Yeah, look at the [birth of the] Sean Avery rule [which states that you can’t face a goalie and distract him].