Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fleury now has a song in his heart to share

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THEO Fleury has given and taken his share of hits after more than 1,000 games in the NHL, but he hopes he's got plenty more left in him.

Of the musical variety, that is.

The Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold medal-winning forward was in town Wednesday to record a song with local songwriter and guitarist, Phil Deschambault.

The track, called Walk With the Thousands, will be released as a single in the near future and included on Fleury's first-ever album, which he's hoping to release some time in 2013.

"It's a theme song for people who are looking for some inspiration, who haven't found their voices yet when it comes to abuse. I thought it would be cool to write a song about where I'm at today. I don't refer to myself as a victim or even a survivor anymore. I consider myself a victor."

"Every athlete wants to be a rock star and every rock star wants to be an athlete. I sing and I'm taking guitar lessons right now," he said.

Fleury said music runs in both of their families. "Phil's dad and my dad used to play music together before we were even born," he said.

Oh, and Fleury's musical genre?

"Country, absolutely. Is there anything else?" he said.

"I know Winnipeg is kind of a hard-rock town. I grew up around country music. My grandpa was a fiddle player and my dad played guitar and sang. It's in the blood of Métis people. It's in all of our blood."

For those who haven't followed the 44-year-old's exploits since he retired from hockey and wrote a book detailing the abuse he suffered from former coach Graham James, Fleury is a budding singer. He made his musical debut at a Johnny Reid concert at last summer's Calgary Stampede.

Advocating on behalf of sexual-abuse victims has become a full-time pursuit for the longtime Calgary Flame. He's also writing another book, a followup to his bestseller, Playing With Fire, which will centre on healing.

"To be able to put on benefit concerts or country fests to raise money for our causes is going to be lots of fun. That's what we want people to know. When you get through it and get empowered, there's nothing you can't accomplish. That's how I feel about my life right now. I have the greatest life you could possibly imagine," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 15, 2012 A2

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