Hockey Alberta rejects Fleury's appeal

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Suspended NHL star Theo Fleury was
denied an appeal Friday to play in an independent Canadian hockey
league during the lockout.

Hockey Alberta rejected the appeal by the Horse Lake Thunder of
the North Peace Hockey League on behalf of Fleury, who wanted to
play with the team for the rest of the season.

Players under contract during the 2003-04 season and now locked
out are ineligible to join a club registered with Hockey Alberta,
the group said.

Fleury was under contract with the Chicago Blackhawks last
season despite not playing a single game. He was suspended by the
NHL for violating the league's substance abuse rules. Fleury, 36,
last appeared in the NHL with the Blackhawks 17 months ago.

Fleury and the Thunder argued during Wednesday's appeal that he
should be allowed to play because he didn't play in the NHL last