‘I’ve been very fortunate to spend four years there’: Fleury says goodbye to Vegas, Hello Chicago
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Marc-Andre Fleury era in Las Vegas is officially over.
On Wednesday, August 4, Fleury met with the Chicago media, confirming he will play his 18th season in the National Hockey League this fall.
“Little bit crazy, there is a lot that goes into it and I’m very fortunate that Stan (Bowman) gave me some time to reflect on what I wanted to do, what was best for me and my family,” Fleury said. “Excited now, excited for the move and try to help the Blackhawks.”
After the trade was made official last month, Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon said he and Fleury had been in constant communication since the end of the 2020-21 season and that a trade was likely coming. However, Fleury re-iterated on Wednesday he was still in shock that it happened.
“My agent gave me a call, told me it was all on twitter that I was traded. That’s how I found out,” Fleury said. “You never know what’s going to happen and I haven’t been traded before. I guess so, it is, it is a little surprising.”
Once the transaction was made official, reports surfaced that Fleury would rather retire than report to the Chicago Blackhawks, but after spending the weekend in Chicago with his wife, exploring the schools and neighborhoods, Fleury was sold.
“Just talking with different guys, talking with the staff, talking with the family also, see what was good for everyone, I think it just adds up, it’s exciting. I don’t think it was one thing where everything changed.”
“I feel pretty lucky that I didn’t have to move so many times. Lot of guys have to do it, it’s not an easy thing. It’s OK, it’s stressful, it’s a process, find somewhere comfortable for your family to be in. A good school, there is lots in there for them, I’ve been very lucky to play for a long time. I’ve won too, I can’t think about me all the time, but everybody was good with me playing again. Kids are excited to go, wife is excited to go.”
Fleury said he has come to terms with leaving Las Vegas, though he has yet to have those personal conversations with his now former teammates and friends.
“I feel like I haven’t sat down with anybody yet and had a beer or anything like that, over texts and a few calls. We got a wedding this summer, so it will be nice to see everyone, a bunch of the guys, we’ll be able to talk it out, but it’s part of the game right, it happens every season all the time. Guys come in and come out and leave, it’s never easy because you see those guys every day, you become close and very good friends. That’s the side of hockey that is not as fun.”
Fleury climbed his way to third place on the NHL all-time wins list during his four year career in Las Vegas, winning his only Vezina trophy this past season at the age of 36. He admits that he has more good years behind him than in front of him, he said he’s confident he can have another career year with Chicago.
“Might not be as fast as I was at 20 years, but I think the experience throughout those years of those games, those practices have made me better at reading plays. Those are things that help me now and obviously in Vegas I had a team that had a very strong defense that blocked a lot of shots, so sometimes they made me look good.”
Fleury made sure to show his excitement for a new city, a new team and a new fan base, but he also made a point to spotlight the medieval maniacs.
When asked about his favorite memory, it wasn’t an award, record or milestone. It was simply Vegas.
“Coming to Vegas I didn’t know if people were going to like hockey or come to the game, support us and stuff like that or win any games. I think from the fact since that first season our rink was full, our practice rink was always full, the atmosphere in T-Mobile Arena is one of the best, it’s a lot of fun. Having success, winning some games, going deep into the playoffs, especially that first season making it to the Final. The people we’ve met outside of hockey, teammates, players you play with, guys you get close with, you come on a team and don’t know anybody, so you make a lot of new friends. I’ve been very fortunate to spend four years there.”
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