It's been a long time since Theo Fleury played organized hockey, but the former NHL star is going to suit up for the Horse Lake Thunder senior team.

Fleury, who was suspended by the NHL for violating its substance abuse policy in 2003, will make his debut on Thursday, when the Thunder travel to Grande Prairie, Alta., to face off against the Athletics in North Peace Hockey League action.

"He wants to get back playing hockey and have some fun," Thunder head coach Glen Watson said.

Fleury, 36, met with Watson on Tuesday to discuss joining the team.

"He said, 'I won a Stanley Cup, a World Cup, the world junior, but I haven't won an Allan Cup,"' Watson said. "He was pretty keen.

"It'll be good for him to get back into it."

The former NHL all-star last appeared in the NHL as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. He also played for the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, and New York Rangers. The native of Russell, Man., has 455 goals and 1,088 points in 1,084 career games.

Vancouver Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick and Fleury's cousin, Todd Holt, play for the Thunder.

Other former NHLers on Horse Lake's roster are Sasha Lakovic, who played 37 games in the NHL with the Flames and the New Jersey Devils, and former San Jose Sharks forward Dodie Wood.

Fleury, whose troubles with alcohol and drugs have been well documented over the past three years, also expressed an interest in working with the community's First Nations children.

"He's gone trough some tough times," said Watson. "Maybe he can help some of the kids playing minor hockey who are facing some tough issues in their lives."