Theoren Fleury last played in the NHL with Chicago in 2003. ((Aynsley Floyd/Associated Press))

Diminutive forward Theoren Fleury was reinstated late Thursday by the NHL, permitting him to resume a pro career that came to a screeching halt in June 2006.

Fleury, 41, was already three years removed from playing with the Chicago Blackhawks when he entered a substance abuse program sanctioned by both the NHL and the NHL Players' Association.

He will be monitored in the after-care phase of the program by Dr. Dave Lewis on behalf of the NHL and Dr. Brian Shaw for the NHLPA.

Fleury was suspended 25 games in 2002 for violating the league's substance abuse policy and again, indefinitely, in 2003.

He tried to revive his pro hockey career by joining the Horse Lake Thunder of the North Peace Hockey League in 2005, and with the Belfast Giants of the Elite Elite Ice Hockey League in 2006.

Fleury hasn't played in the NHL in six years.

Born in Oxbow, Sask., and raised in Russell, Man., he went on to play 15 seasons in the NHL with the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Blackhawks.

Fleury compiled 455 goals and 1,088 points in 1,084 NHL games, and helped the Flames hoist the Stanley Cup in 1989.

He also won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

With files from The Canadian Press