Sean Avery is back in professional hockey.
The ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears announced on Wednesday morning that the club has signed the former NHL winger to an ECHL standard player contract for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, marking Avery’s first stint back in professional hockey since he suited up for seven games with the AHL’s Connecticut Whale back in 2011-12.
According to an official release, Avery will begin his tenure with the Solar Bears on the team’s reserve list.
Needless to say, it wouldn’t be a stretch to categorize Avery’s comeback as surprising.
The former pest is 41 years old at the moment, set to turn 42 in less than two months, and was last seen racking up just three points in 15 games for the New York Rangers in the 2011-12 season en route to an AHL demotion.
A veteran of 580 NHL games with the Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, and Dallas Stars, Avery certainly made his presence known during his comparatively brief time in the league.
During game three of the Rangers-Devils first-round series in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Avery stationed himself in front of the Devils’ net and proceeded to turn his back to the play and wave his stick in the face of goaltender Martin Brodeur. While Avery would ultimately score a power-play goal soon after, the NHL immediately amended their unsportsmanlike conduct rule the following day to outlaw Avery’s actions, leading to the now-dubbed “Avery Rule”.
In recent years, however, Avery has stayed largely out of the spotlight, making media appearances as a hockey analyst on occasion.