Some surprising, yet unsurprising news broke earlier today that Sean Avery has retired from hockey. It's not surprising that Avery is calling it quits considering the fact that no team in the league wanted him, but it's still sort of surprising to see it happen so suddenly.
Here's what Avery told the New York Post:
The one-time Rangers winger told The Post on Tuesday morning he will embark on his post-hockey career next month with an advertising agency that has a venture capital wing after announcing his retirement Monday night on the online “After Show” of Bravo TV’s “Watch What Happens Live.”
“I am officially retired,” Avery said on the show. “I threw my skates in the Hudson [River].”
Tuesday morning, Avery told The Post, "No, that wasn't a joke; yes I'm retiring at the end of the season, and it's OK.
"I guess that was my retirement press conference."Avery hadn't played for the Connecticut Whale since January and was recently left off their playoff roster. It seemed like something weird was up for a while, and I think most people eventually were able to read between the lines and figure out that the Rangers were paying Sean to stay at home. He obviously had no interest in playing hockey in the AHL anymore, and the Rangers had no interest in keeping him around.
Sean obviously had his ups and downs throughout his NHL career, but there's no doubt he'll always be a cult hero to Rangers fans everywhere. I assume Aves will want to take some time away from the game of hockey. He's obviously very involved in the world of fashion and has been doing some side projects outside of hockey for the past few years, including opening two restaurants in New York City (one co-owned with Henrik Lundqvist). Avery also said a few months ago that he has more than enough money saved up to never have to work another day in his life, which is good to hear that he's not one of those athletes who blew all his money.
I'll have a much longer post with my thoughts on Avery in the future. For now, I'll just sum things up this way: it's a sad way for Avery's career to end. He was a guy who tried to change and learn from his mistakes, but was never given the benefit of the doubt by referees no matter what he did. Even when he played well after the incident in Dallas, he just wasn't able to be the same player he was before signing with the Dallas Stars. Really, there was no other alternative for Sean. Nobody wanted to sign him, and no matter where he went it became clear he was never going to be able to be the same player he used to be because the refs always had it out for him. Just a few months ago, Avery reiterated how much he wanted to play hockey and would accept a deal next year for the league minimum to be able to keep playing with the Rangers, but it wasn't meant to be. As someone who met Avery twice, he always came across as a genuine guy who loved talking hockey and even more loved New York Rangers fans.
So, thanks for the memories, Sean. He'll always be one of my favorite athletes and I'll continue to rock my Sean Avery Rangers jerseys proudly. It's safe to say The Grate One has left plenty of impact on the city of New York.