06/18/2008 at 01:30 PM EDT
NHL bad-boy-turned-fashion-intern Sean Avery says he hopes Vogue
editor Anna Wintour will be asking him back next summer now that he's "made it out alive" from his last couple months at the magazine.
"I learned a ton," the New York Rangers left wing, 28, told PEOPLE Tuesday night at the Whitney Contemporaries Art Party presented by BCBG Max Azria. "I was surrounded by some of the greatest minds in American fashion and in the world."
Self-confessed clotheshorse Avery, whose on-ice antics have inspired an official NHL rule named after him, fulfilled a lifelong dream when he started at the fashion mag only a week after he was hospitalized for a lacerated spleen
during a game in May.
Downplaying the comparisons between Wintour and her fictional doppelganger
played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada
, Avery said his least favorite aspect of his internship was having to do some of the unglamorous grunt work behind the scenes.
"The production aspects sucked, setting up the shoots," he said. "That's a little difficult. Yeah, I did it all."
For now, Avery said he's looking forward to hitting the beach, where he'll be showing off some of the fashion sense that rubbed off on him during his internship.
"I'm bringing the European flavor back to America," he says, "and I'm rocking a straight Speedo all summer."