In the wake of announcing his retirement from hockey on cable TV, NHL bad boy Sean Avery reveals to Lifestyle Mirror that his next dream job could very well be as an ad exec. Photographs by Douglas Lyle Thompson.
When it comes to being an agitator, being the best and being the most notorious are often difficult to distinguish. Former New York Rangers forward Sean Avery—who earlier this month on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live announced his retirement from hockey at the conclusion of his current contract—is far from an exception to the rule, having been both venerated and detested for his talent to antagonize on and off the ice.
What’s next for Avery is completely up for grabs, it seems. After a 10-year career in the NHL, the 31-year-old allegedly tossed his skates in the Hudson River, marking the end to his position as one of hockey’s most hated and celebrated “pests.”
“If I wasn’t playing hockey, my job of choice would be in advertising—or I would be a very successful fashion photographer,” Avery has said.
In front of the lens, Avery served as the protagonist of Hickey Freeman's recent campaign, where he met advertising guru David Lipman, opening up his horizons even further.
"I have been very lucky to have David become a friend and mentor at this point in my life, where I'm ready to enter the world of creative," Avery says. "Being surrounded by these types of minds is what excites me."
When it comes to professional athletes, very few are more eager to discuss their interest in fashion than their sport. “From an early age, probably 12 or 13, I started to become interested in clothes,”Avery says. “As I got older, it was a way to express myself.”
Indeed, Avery has been known to sit front row at fashion shows, befriend the likes of Vera Wang, and offer his friends (both male and female) style advice. Most notably, he spent a summer off-season interning at Vogue and also served as a guest editor at mensvogue.com, in 2008.
“It makes you feel good,” Avery says of fashion. “When I’m getting dressed and I feel good about what I’m putting on, it puts me in a happy mood—it naturally gives me confidence.” And thanks to the sharp, well-constructed suits he regularly dons, that is exactly what he exudes.
“No matter what you buy…. I think the most important thing is just making sure the clothes fit,” Avery advises. “Usually a good sign of that is having your clothes feel a tad bit uncomfortable—that’s always the best rule.”
But as two Tribeca hot spots, Warren 77 and Tiny’s, both of which Avery co-owns, demonstrate, his eye isn’t just attuned to what’s on the runway. Having teamed up with Matt Abramcyk (who owned New York’s now defunct Beatrice Inn) in 2009 and then again in 2011, Avery seems on his way toward accruing a solid rep in hospitality. “My relationship with Matt, who I think is the best up-and-coming restaurateur in America, began at the Beatrice Inn,” Avery explains. “So after it closed, he [Abramcyk] said, ‘Let's open a sports bar in Tribeca.’ I said, ‘You’re crazy, but let's do it.’”—Sasha Levine