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Play about former NHLer Theo Fleury opens STC's 48th season tonight

Actor plays role entirely on skates gliding on synthetic ice

Sudbury Theatre Centre opens its 48th season tonight with Persephone Theatre's production of Playing With Fire: The Theo Fleury Story by Kirstie McLellan Day.

The play is based on the book “Playing With Fire” by Theo Fleury and Kirstie McLellan Day. The production runs Sept. 26 to Oct. 5 for just 11 performances.

You don’t need to know anything about hockey to love the exhilarating, heat-breaking and triumphant true story of this courageous Canadian hockey legend, said a press release from STC.

Playing With Fire: The Theo Fleury Story chronicles Fleury’s life-story as he overcomes sexual abuse, become an NHL All-Star, win the Stanley Cup and represent Canada twice at the Olympic Games where he earned a Gold medal. 

“Shaun Smyth has performed this show all across Canada and I’m so excited that we are now able to present it to our Sudbury audience,” said STC artistic director John McHenry. 

“Fleury’s story is much more than just being a hockey player; it’s about life. Oh, and Shaun plays it entirely on skates on synthetic ice.”

Former professional hockey player Theoren "Theo" Fleury played for the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Finland’s Tappara and the UK’s Belfast Giants. Throughout his career he battled drug and alcohol addictions that ultimately forced him out of the NHL in 2003.

Outside of hockey, Fleury overcame his addictions, operating a concrete business in Calgary with his family. 

He marketed his own brand of clothing, which led him to play two professional baseball games for the Calgary Vipers of the Golden Baseball League. 

In 1995, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and his annual charity golf tournament has helped raise more than $1 million for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

Fleury co-wrote Playing With Fire, the best-selling autobiography, in which he revealed that he had been sexually abused. Fleury has since become an advocate for sexual abuse victims and developed a career as a public speaker. 

Playwright Kirstie McLellan Day is considered the most successful hockey book writer in the world today thanks to seven national bestsellers including Theo Fleury’s #1 bestselling memoir Playing With Fire, Bob Probert’s Tough Guy and two books with HNIC’s Ron MacLean - Cornered and Hockey Towns.

In 2016, the book she wrote with Wayne Gretzky, 99: Stories of the Game was named Canada’s top selling book of the year, then came Kelly Hrudey’s entertaining autobiography Calling the Shots followed by another #1 bestseller in 2018, Curtis Joseph’s touching memoir, Cujo.

McLellan is currently working on her first novel, “Bullrush” - a funny and gritty crime fiction novel about a fallen football legend forced to look for second chances by reinventing himself. 

Making his debut at STC is Shaun Smyth as Theo Fleury. Smyth recently shot the film The Silencing in Sudbury and became very fond of the people and the city. His theatre work across Canada include The Galileo Project (Tafelmusik); One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Theatre Calgary/RMTC); The Glass Menagerie (Citadel); Rock ’n’ Roll, Of Mice and  Men, Trainspotting  (Canadian Stage); The Pillowman, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Birdland Theatre Toronto); Stones In His Pockets (ATP/Grand); Blue Orange (Neptune); Moby Dick, The Country Wife, Amadeus, Macbeth (Stratford Festival). 

Audiences may recognize him from film and television is such shows as Suits, True Detectives, Murdoch Mysteries, Arrow, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, FRINGE, Witches of East End, Almost Human, The Killing, Supernatural, Four Minutes and Proteus. 

A press release from STC said each Mainstage production this season at the theatre is running for just one-and-a-half-weeks, so with just 11 performances, you don’t want to leave it too late to book your tickets. 

Tickets are available at the STC DiBrina Box Office located at 170 Shaughnessy St., 705-674-8381 ext. 21 or online at