TORONTO - Former NHL forward Andre Deveaux says he was simply protecting himself when he attacked an opposing player prior to a Swedish league playoff game in March.
During the pre-game warmup, Deveaux, playing for Rogle BK, delivered a two-handed slash to the feet of Vasteras defenceman Per Helmersson. Helmersson had checked Deveaux from behind into the boards in the previous game between the two teams, resulting in Deveaux sustaining a concussion. No penalty was called on the play.
Deveaux, a 31-year-old Bahamian-born Canadian who once played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers, spoke publicly about the incident for the first time Friday. He says he was protecting himself after Vasteras players threatened him prior to the game. Deveaux showed a video of Helmersson hitting him from behind and driving him head-first into the boards. He says he hasn't felt the same since.
Deveaux says he wasn't trying to hurt Helmersson, adding he slashed him on the skates. However video of the incident also showed Deveaux jumping on Helmersson and punching him. Rogle BK released Deveaux after the incident and reports out of Sweden said a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Deveaux says Swedish prosecutors are deciding whether charges should be laid.