The agent for Sean Avery told Hockey Night in Canada Radio on Wednesday that his client will not retire, despite the 31-year-old’s claim that he'll be finished with hockey at the end of this season.
“Absolutely, with certainty, he is not retired,” Pat Morris told host Gord Stellick and HNIC analyst Kelly Hrudey.
On Tuesday's online "After Show" segment of Bravo TV's show, Watch What Happens Live, Avery said he’s retiring from the National Hockey League after 10 seasons.
“I am officially retired,” he told show host Andy Cohen as he lounged back in his chair. “I threw my skates in the Hudson [River].”
Avery reiterated his intention to the New York Post, saying he's quitting at the end of the season to work in advertising, adding he has zero interest in continuing his hockey career in Europe.
But Morris shed a different light on the matter Wednesday, telling Stellick and Hrudey that Avery was simply having some fun with a fan.
“He was on a light show [and] some viewer asked a question about his hockey future and he just leaned back — as only Sean can do with some humour — and he just said ‘I’m retired’ in jest," Morris said.
“He has not asked for his retirement papers. They have not been signed, they will not be signed. [They] obviously can’t be or he wouldn’t be getting paid, and that’s something he would like to do and I would like him to do.”
Avery is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, when his four-year, $15.5 million US contract signed while he was a member of the Dallas Stars expires.
The Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Connecticut Whale, left Avery off its playoff roster a week ago and instructed him to not report to the rink for practices or games. He last played for the team Jan. 27.
New York general manager Glen Sather assigned Avery to the minors on Dec. 31 after he cleared waivers.
The veteran forward failed to make the Rangers out of training camp and was placed on waivers in early October.
Morris said that Avery will explore all of his hockey options once he becomes a free agent.
“He will certainly see if there’s any interest in the summer, which there may not be [or] there may be. He wants to play hockey if somebody wants him.
"There were overtures from Russia and from Switzerland. We’ll explore Europe as well to give him all the options as July comes."With files from Doug Harrison and The Associated Press