Originally written on Puck Drunk Love  |  Last updated 3/13/12

NEW YORK - JANUARY 17: Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers fights Josh Gorges #26 of the Montreal Canadiens during their game on January 17, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

According to ESPNNewYork.com, Sean Avery is planning on retiring at the end of the 2011-12 season. The article states that Avery responded to an interview question about his future in hockey with a blunt response signaling the end of his career. When asked if his playing days were done Avery responded, "I am officially retired; I threw my skates in the Hudson". 

It was believed his original answer may have been in jest but after Avery was reached via email on Tuesday, he only confirmed his previous answer. Evidently, he is waiting to make the official statement until his bloated four-year, $15.5 million contract expires at the end of the 2011-12 season. 

Is Avery telling the truth? Or is this yet another controversial statement from the former NHL tough guy?

 

Few careers have fallen as sharply or as quickly as Sean Avery's. As recently as last season Avery was a regular NHL player, causing havoc on the ice as a member of the New York Rangers. His role was mostly that of an enforcer/grinder but he did contribute 24 points in 76 games during the 2010-11 season. His strength and intensity on the ice made him a formidable opponent. 

Skip ahead to 2011-12 and Avery is talking retirement at age 31. He has appeared in just 15 NHL games in 2011-12, spending the bulk of his time down in the AHL. Avery has stated that he is able to to play at the NHL level if the Rangers called upon him but it seems pretty clear that the Rangers have no intention of doing so. 

With his contract expiring, should we really believe Avery's comments on retirement? It's tough to do so given his history of controversial statements. 

If you recall, Avery has been at the heart of several controversies due to anti-gay and racist slurs he has made. He has denied these claims but they have followed him around the NHL for years now, and have been reported by several NHL players. Due to this, it's tough to take what Avery is saying and believe it without hesitation. Nearly every fan has learned to take a grain of salt with whatever statement Avery releases.

If Sean Avery was to retire, he may be able to land a role in his other major interest - fashion. It's no secret that the fashion industry is a serious passion to the NHL tough guy, as ironic as that might sound. In 2008, Avery interned at Vogue magazine. In 2009 Avery presented a clothing line from Commonwealth Utilities during Fashion Week in New York City. As recently as February, Avery was a special judge on Project Runway All-Stars. If he was to walk from the NHL it wouldn't be shocking to see him end up working in fashion in some form or capacity. 

The ESPN article reports that Avery plans on beginning an advertising job as soon as next month once his NHL contract expires. It's unclear what he will be advertising, but this is an indication that Avery's focus is outside of the NHL. At the very least, we will miss being able to use Avery's rather odd profile picture (seen above) in the future if this is indeed his last year in hockey.

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