12/03/2008 AT 8:15 PM ET
Hockey star Sean Avery, suspended by the NHL for making an offensive statement apparently referring to ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert, apologized Wednesday.
“I should not have made those comments and I recognize that they were inappropriate,” he says in a statement to PEOPLE. “It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were.”
The hockey league’s commissioner summoned Avery, 28, who plays for the Dallas Stars, for a hearing Thursday on his indefinite suspension for making what the commissioner called “inappropriate public comments, not pertaining to the game.”
Avery’s vulgar comment came Wednesday morning, when he told reporters, “it s a common thing for NHL guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds.” Although he didn’t mention her by name, his ex, 24 actress Cuthbert, 26, now dates Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf and was previously linked to a player for the Montreal Canadiens. (Avery also dated “Stacey’s Mom” star Rachel Hunter, who now dates Los Angeles Kings star Jarret Stoll.)
“I caused unnecessary embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in the past,” Avery says. “As many of you know, I like to mix it up on and off the ice from time to time, but understand that this time I took it too far.”
Reporting by JENNIFER GARCIA