Former NHL agitator Sean Avery appeared on TSN's Off The Record with Michael Landsberg on Thursday.
The often-controversial winger, who spent more than a decade in the league with four different teams, opened up about his career and in particular what he was made famous for in his first Canadian interview since hanging up the skates.
"Over the 12 years that I played I said some of the worst things that you could ever possibly imagine. And every time I did it because I thought that it was going to give me or my team an advantage," Avery said.
"You can pull hundreds of examples of things that I said over my career, but the bottom line is I was extremely good at it."
Avery was best known for his antics, but showed flashes of skill throughout his career; netting more than 30 points in a season three times over his career. When asked if he could have been as successful without the antics, Avery said the question was irrelevant.
"It's just a conversation that doesn't need to happen," Avery said. "I was what I was. I remember Steve Yzerman telling me to just play because you're a good player. It didn't matter; nothing was going to change how I approached the game and how I played. Nobody was going to tell me differently."
At just 32, Avery's retirement could be considered premature, but the North York, Ontario native said it was time for him to change directions. He said it was as much him dumping hockey as the other way around.
"The reason I decided to stop and move in a different direction was certainly the restrictions that were put on me from early on," he said. "I think that I pushed the boundaries as far as I could push them.
"Why would I fight this anymore? First of all, it's not healthy. Second, it's not fun - no matter how much money you're getting paid."
In his post-playing days, Avery's a board member of Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization that encourages people in sports to be open and understanding of others' sexual orientations. Avery is also working towards helping players open up about health issues, both physical and mental.
While he said he doesn't miss some of what he called the restrictive nature of the NHL, Avery wouldn't go so far as to say he's happier now out of the spotlight.
"I'm extremely happy with my life today but I was also extremely happy over the course of my career," he said. "It's safe to say that nobody has as much fun as me."