Theoren Fleury says his decision to write a tell-all book was motivated in part by a desire to empower victims of sexual abuse.
"It's an important topic," Fleury told CBC's The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos in an interview that aired Wednesday night. "And it's a topic that needs to be talked about more.
"One in six men are sexually molested at some point in their life, and to me that's a pretty staggering figure."
In Playing With Fire, Fleury's autobiography that was released Wednesday, the former NHL star claims he was sexually abused in the 1980s by former junior hockey coach Graham James.
Fleury, 41, did not shed light on whether he'll press charges against James — an option Fleury said he was "looking into" in an interview that appeared in the Calgary Herald on Wednesday.
James was convicted in 1997 of abusing Sheldon Kennedy, a former teammate of Fleury's, and one other unnamed junior hockey player. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
Fleury said on The Hour that he also wanted to use his autobiography to explain "why things kind of went off the rails towards the end of my NHL career."
The book details the problems with drinking, drugs and gambling that plagued Fleury during his 16 seasons in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames.
Fleury last played in the NHL in 2003, when he was suspended indefinitely for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Return to hockey?
Fleury said his problems with drinking and drugs got worse after Kennedy revealed publicly that he'd been abused by James.
"I can say probably at that point in my life, that's when my life started to … because I thought it was buried, dead and gone and we'll never have to talk about it again. That's when I started getting into the hardcore drugs, using cocaine, and then, you know, you mix it with the alcohol.
"At that point in my life I was so not ready to be able to deal with that."
Fleury, who says he's now sober, was reinstated by the NHL in September and attempted a comeback with the Flames. He received a warm reception from fans and players and even scored the shootout winner in a pre-season game in Calgary, but didn't make the team.
"The only thing that would've topped what I accomplished in training camp was going to another team and winning a Stanley Cup, and you can't really pick the team who's going to win," Fleury said.
"It was a great experience. I loved being with the guys. The guys were tremendous — Jarome [Iginla] and Craig Conroy and [Dion] Phaneuf and those guys, they treated me really well."
Fleury wouldn't rule out a return to hockey in some capacity.
"I'm just kind of thinking about it right now," he said. "I'd love to be involved in hockey somehow because I've had so many winning experiences through my hockey career that, you know, I think there's a place somewhere in the game for me.
"I don't know what that looks like yet, but we'll see what happens."