Sean Avery apologizes through website

Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery on Wednesday evening apologized for comments he made in Calgary the day before pertaining to ex-girlfriends who are now dating other NHL players.

Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery on Wednesday evening apologized for comments he made in Calgary the day before pertaining to ex-girlfriends who are now dating other NHL players.

Avery's apology came not through the Dallas organization but via the website. The publication said it obtained the statement through Avery's personal publicist.

"It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were," Avery said in his statement, according to the Sporting News. "I caused unnecessary embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in the past.

"I apologize for offending the great fans of the NHL, the commissioner, my teammates, my coaching staff and the Dallas Stars management and ownership. As many of you know, I like to mix it up on and off the ice from time to time, but understand that this time I took it too far."

Avery, 28, will face the music Thursday morning in New York, where he is scheduled to meet with commissioner Gary Bettman. He was suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of the hearing for "inappropriate public comments, not pertaining to the game." 

The punishment came down only hours after Avery used a crude term about his former girlfriends dating other hockey players. Calgary defenceman Dion Phaneuf, for one, is currently dating Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert, one of Avery's former girlfriends.

The fact the apology did not come through the Stars appears to be another indication the team is struggling with how to deal with the tempestuous player.

Dallas owner Tom Hicks quickly issued a statement after the NHL suspension condemning Avery's comments.

Stars coach Dave Tippett told reporters before the team's game on Wednesday in Edmonton that he has a hard time envisioning Avery being welcomed back to the dressing room by the players.

Avery signed a four-year deal worth over $15 million US after spending last season with the New York Rangers.

While playing in Detroit, Los Angeles and New York, he showed an ability to score and get under the skin of opponents but also frequently found himself in hot water.

The NHL put in a so-called "Avery Rule" after he set up in front of New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur and blocked the goalie's view by waving his hand and stick during last year's playoffs. He's also previously been fined for diving and criticizing NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell.

In a poll last year, 66 per cent of NHL players said Avery was the most hated player in the league.

With files from the Associated Press