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The 1998 Archives: The Cross-Canada Skate And More


1998....the year for a lot of changes. It was in this year that the name of the Foundation grew to be known as another, more popular name...Anaphe. Anaphe is a goddess in Greek mythology that watches over and protects children. It was perfect.

Sheldon contemplated his next move, and as soon as his leg healed entirely, he was out and about, doing more now than just becoming an outspoken child's advocate. He decided to skate across Canada for the sake of raising awareness of child abuse as well as money toward the ranch. He grabbed his rollerblades and started in mile zero, on May 30th in Saint John's, New Foundland. During the skate, Graham James was released for day parole and Sheldon crashed an expensive Hummer vehicle and left the scene of the crime. He later apologized. Despite controversy about a salary from the skate and that he supposedly didn't skate the whole way, he skated into a rainy Victoria, British Columbia on October 10 at 2:45 PM. They might not have raised anywhere near the amount they had hoped for, but he brought across a message that would be heard across Canada.

In late 1998, he was given a 25-game tryout in the Manitoba Moose Hockey Club. From there, he went across seas to play for Germany's Landshut Cannibals, then returned home to Jana and their daughter Ryan in Calgary.

The list to the left is by no means complete. If you have something from 1998 to contribute, please email me. You will be credited for your help!

Below are the1998 archives.

Page 1

Sheldon Kennedy Named Top Newsmaker

Comeback Road Bumpy For Kennedy

Be Kind To Hockey

Abuse Victims Get Apology From Gardens Announcement Long on Contrition; Short Specifics

Sheldon Kennedy Begins Anti-Abuse Crusade

Sheldon Kennedy Returns To Home Ice

Former Wing Kennedy Makes Difficult Return

Heartache Isn't Over: Kennedy Thinks More Charges Ahead

James Pleads Guilty Again

Sheldon Kennedy To Announce Skate Across Canada at A Press Conference

Kennedy Skates to Raise Child Abuse Awareness

Canadian Parks And Recreations Accociation Salutes Sheldon Kennedy on Cross-Canada Skate

Kennedy Skates Across Canada to Fight Sex Abuse-- Ex-NHLer Hopes Rollerblading Journey Educates Kids, Parents

Cross-Country For The Kids

Kennedy's Journey Liberating

Sheldon Kennedy's Mission

Stamps Kick Off Sheldon's Journey

Kennedy is Blitzed By Abuse Complaints

Kennedy Eager To Start Road Trip of A Lifetime; Kids Top Agenda of Cross-Country Skating Odyssey

NHL's Sheldon Kennedy to Discuss Child Abuse in King's County

Sheldon Kennedy Named Top Newsmaker
1/2/98
Judith Monchuk
The Canadian Press


In a year when the idyllic image of Canadian hockey was shattered by sex-abuse scandals, Sheldon Kennedy gave the sport back its dignity. Kennedy's decision to talk about the years of abuse he endured from junior coach Graham James forced Canadians to face a grim reality: that sexual predators can take advantage of youngsters' NHL dreams and turn them into lifelong nightmares. Until a year ago, James was a well-regarded, championship-winning coach in the Western Hockey League. Now he's serving a 42-month prison sentence for molesting young players, including Kennedy, who went public last January. Kennedy's courage inspired hundreds of men to come forward with their own tales of abuse. They included Martin Kruze, who committed suicide this fall after exposing a ring of pedophiles at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. He and other boys had been lured to the hockey shrine with promises of free tickets and autographs before being assaulted.

Newspaper editors and broadcast news directors pointed to Kennedy's bravery in naming him Canada's top newsmaker of 1997 in a survey by the Canadian Press and Broadcast News.

"Despite the possibility of all kinds of negative reprocussions, he chose to speak out in the hopes of preventing this horrible crime from happening to some other young athlete," said Tamara Joel of CILK in Kelowna, B.C.

Kennedy played in the NHL from 1989 until last spring. His contract with the Boston Bruins was not renewed after he suffered a broken leg in a car accident last June. That has allowed him to throw his full attention into building a ranch and treatment facility for sexually abused youngsters in the mountainous Kootenay region of British Columbia.

The 260-hectare property was donated by a Vancouver businessman. People moved by Kennedy's story have contributed more than $200,000 to the cause.

"We're going to do good, we're going to get this ranch built," Kennedy, 28, said this week from his home in Calgary.

Kennedy's revelations, including allegations that junior hockey brass heard rumors of abuse and did nothing, led to a review commissioned by the CHL.

The review was aimed at protecting teenage boys who play for the elite teams and often live away from home as the persue dreams of playing in the NHL. It recommended screening procedures for coaches, volunteers and employees in the country's minor hockey system.

HOW THEY VOTED
How Canada's editor's and news directors voted in the annual Canadian Press-Broadcast News poll on the top newsmaker of 1997:

* Sheldon Kennedy: 44 votes
* Mike Harris, Ontario Premier: 26
* Robert Latimer, Saskatchewan man who killed severely disabled daughter: 16
* Jean Chretien, prime minister: 13
* Jacques Villeneuve, Formula One race car driver: 10
* David Walsh, head of Bre-X Minerals Ltd.: 9
* Preston Manning, federal opposition leader: 6
* Paul Martin, federal finance minister: 6
*Glen Clark, BC premier: 5
* Diana, princess of Wales: 4
*Lloyd Axworthy, federal cabinet minister and landmines opponent: 2
* Danielle House, brawling beauty queen: 2

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Comeback Road Bumpy for Kennedy
By Ross McKeon / San Francisco Examiner
1/17/98

There may yet be a happy ending awaiting the Sheldon Kennedy saga.
It was early in the 1996-97 season that Kennedy, a 26-year-old seemingly underachieving fourth-line forward, went public with a story of sexual abuse by his junior hockey coach some 10 years before. Graham James was convicted in Canada, and received a three-year sentence.
Kennedy received tremendous support wherever he went, but the former Boston Bruin continued to struggle emotionally. The summer of '97 provided another career setback as Kennedy broke his leg in nine places when he flipped his vehicle in a one car accident.

Now, more than a year later, Kennedy is attempting a comeback. He is skating with the Canadian national team. Late in the summer, Kennedy completed an early 5,000-mile journey across Canada on roller blades to raise money and awareness for a proposed ranch to help sexually abused children.

"My whole career, ever since I ran into Graham James, people would say, 'Geez, Sheldon, if you only took care of yourself you could be a great player,' " Kennedy recently told the Associated Press. "People were always wondering why I didn't do anything to make myself better. If I take care of me, I know I can play."

Kennedy has struggled in that area. Involved in another vehicle accident late in August, Kennedy admitted to having seven or eight beers before getting behind the wheel. Marijuana was also found at the Edmonton crash site.

Kennedy, who is participating in the NHLPA's health program, hopes to return to the NHL because he says for the first time since he can remember, he enjoys playing the game.

Kennedy, 29, scored 49 goals and 107 points in 310 NHL regular season games that included stops in Detroit, Calgary and Boston. His best path to the NHL may be via a stint in the IHL.

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Be Kind To Hockey
1/20/98

To the Editor:
It would be absurd to blame the Canadian National Junior Hockey team's poor finish for the present situation in Canadian hockey. Our recent misfortunes, World Cup included, in no way signify our position. With the spirits of Graham James and Alan Eagleson desecrating this religious sport, it should seem ridiculous to focus on the misfortunes of our international play. The biggest dilemma I've heard across Canada was the injustice Mark Messier faced in not making the Olympic Team.

Sheldon Kennedy held his head low for many years throughout his secret life. The sexual abuse he endured in his amateur years with former coach Graham James directly affected Kennedy and the spirit of the game he once loved. Now, out of hockey for the time being and creating awareness wherever he can, Kennedy seems to be doing better. The arrest and imprisonment of his personal demon was a victory every Canadian should be proud of.


The deception of former hockey ambassador Alan Eagleson unveiled itself in a courtroom recently. The man who organized several international events, such as the Canada Cup, is now facing jail time. His embezzlement shocked many colleagues while putting a cloud over some glorious international tournaments Canada has won. It seems the law has rid Canadian hockey of another demon, but not before leaving its mark.

Canada should be proud these injustices have not gone unnoticed. Recent losses in the World Cup and the Junior tournament would be put into perspective. Hockey is a game dear to many Canadians. We put a lot of pressure on our players to win. With growing talent in the United States, Asia and Europe, our dominance may be limited. We have to accept and change.

Eric Toth
History III

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998

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Abuse Victims get Apology from Gardens; Announcement Long on Contrition, Short Specifics
Saturday, 1/24/98
Michael Ulmer

TORONTO-- Martin Kruze got in death what he never garnered in life: a full apology from the Maple Leaf Gardens and a vow that managers at the hockey shrine would striveto make sure no other children would be sexually abused within the building.

Leafs owner Steve Stavro delivered the message yesterday at a gathering that included members of the Kruze family, social workers and about 10 victims.

"I just want to say to the Kruze family and to other victims and their families, I'm sorry and I want to see such things never happen again," said Stavro.

Kruze, 35, jumped to his death from Toronto's Bloor Viaduct last October. He was the first person to acknowledge years of sexual abuse at Maple Leaf Gardens inflicted by George Hannah, a former Gardens equipment handler, and Gordon Stuckless, a Gardens employee.

Anxious to meet their hockey heroes, Kruze began hanging around the Gardens at 12. He was abused over a seven-year period. Hannah died in 1984; Stuckless was sentenced Oct. 27 to two years less a day. Three days later, Kruze killed himself.

"We know, and we want you to be assured, that sexual abuse to a youth by an adult is never, never the fault of the young person," said Maple Leafs president and General Manager Ken Dryden.

While long on contrition, the announcement was short on specifics. The club restated its offer of counseling for any child abused inside the building, a service taken up so far by only one victim. It announced an independent agent to co-ordinate counselling and job-skills training for people whose lives were permanently derailed by the abuse. In October, Maple Leaf Gardens will host a child awareness congress in which volunteers, victims and service providers can walk the Gardens floor.

There are 10 outstanding civil suits against the Gardens. Dryden, a lawyer, included a disclaimer in his remarks that while sorry, the Gardens does not accept legal liability for the actions of former employees. "The regret we feel cannot be understood as an admission of legal liability. That is for the courts to decide," Dryden said.

There was no mention of dollars committed to the effort and no offer to, as one victim suggested, create a logo commemorating the victims of the abuse to be worn on Leafs jerseys. Still, the apology and willingness of the Maple Leafs to offer more help won the approval of family members and victims.

"I know that Martin is listening and this is what he wanted to happen," said Jayne Dunsmore, Kruze's partner. "And I'm glad that victims are here, because that's what it's all about."

"I can finally say that Martin Arnold Kruze has spoken loudly in this shrine and will help fellow survivors," said Kruze's father, Imants. "His last words were that he wanted to be used as an instrument of help for fellow survivors."

Sheldon Kennedy, whose disclosure of abuse by junior coach Graham James inspired Kruze to go public, attended the event and said the Leafs did the right thing. Kennedy said Kruze's death gave more impetus to the move to drag child abuse from the shadows.

"This is reality," Kenendy said, "this is what it does to people. I've been in that position, I could have really easily been in Martin Kruze's position. I've been there, thank God there was somebody there to grab me and drag me the other way."

"I feel very remorseful for the loss of Martin; there isn't a day that I don't think of him," said Derek Dukelow, 28, who was abused when he was 14. "But at the same time, if it wasn't for Martin taking that dreaded step, I don't know if Maple Leaf Gardens would have been pushed this far, this quick, to take steps and make a public apology."

Dukelow, an unemployed father of four, said he was hopeful the Gardens would help him land retraining to help him reach his goal of being an accountant.

Kruze's death, Dryden conceded, shocked him and the rest of the organization into casting aside worries about protocol and legalities.

"It created that sudden focus. All those things that you were thinking abour, wondering about, all of a sudden, geez, they're gone."

For a middle-aged survivor of Stuckless' abuse who declined to give his name, the chance to meet Dryden meant the closing of a scathingly painful circle of events.

"I was a young goaltender and to me, Ken Dryden was a hero. He (Stuckless) was going to introduce me to Ken 23 years ago. I met Ken Dryden for the first time today. I felt like he owed it to me for some strange reason."

The Toronto man said he wanted nothing from the Gardens but an honest effort to lend its name and resources to the fight against child abuse. "Martin's death was an exclamation mark on a very bad social comment. I think his death brought it home to a lot of people that this is not an issue that goes away, that you can't ignore it."

Brian Sills, a Toronto man abused from 1975-76, said he wants the Gardens to pay the cost of therapy and to set aside a spot in the Gardens where victims can come back and feel safe.

"What I want is the ability to trust again. I want that back. I would like to be able to turn a corner in this building and not worry about who was on the other side."

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Sheldon Kennedy Returns to Home Ice
Thursday, January 29, 1998

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. (CP) -- Sheldon Kennedy, who broke a painful silence about one of hockey's dirty little secrets, made a bittersweet return to his former junior team Wednesday night. The former NHLer was honored by the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL, where he was a star player in the late 1980's.

A sellout crowd of 3,200 cheered wildly as a smiling Kennedy dropped the puck in a ceremonial faceoff for a game between the Broncos and the Brandon Wheat Kings. It was an emotional moment for Kennedy, who suffered years of sexual abuse in Swift Current at the hands of former Broncos coach, Graham James. It was also his first time back in the prairie city in five years. "I would like to thank the whole community of Swift Current," Kenendy told the crowd during a special ceremony after the second period. "There were a lot of things going through my mind coming here today and one of them was fear...but everyone has greeted me with open arms. I just think this is a much better place now that we got one individual out of it."

The crowd applauded loudly.

Kennedy was referring to James, who, until 1996, was a respected coach in the WHL. James is now serving a 42-month prison sentence for molesting players.

After leaving the Broncos, Kennedy went on to play in the NHL for eight years with Detroit, Calgary and Boston.

But the 28-year-old said he was never able to enjoy the game because of what James had done to him. That was part of the reason he spoke out publicly last year. The ensuing scandal tarnished the squeaky clean image of junior hockey and prompted the CHL to commission a review of the system. The review recommended screening procedures for coaches, employees and volunteers to protect teens who spend time away from home playing for elite teams.

Kennedy's courage inspired other men to come forward, including Martin Kruze, who committed suicide last year after telling police about a ring of pedophiles who assaulted boys at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Kennedy said he had mixed feelings about his return. Despite the abuse he suffered, he said he also has many good memories of the team and the fans.

"I'm excited to be here. I don't regret playing hockey in Swift Current one bit," the native of Elkhorn, Man., said before the game. "I think as a community we went through a hard time. If Graham James was still coach here, I don't think I'd be coming back, but that's not the case."

Kenendy, who was named Canada's top newsmaker in 1997 by newspaper editors and broadcast news directors in a survey by the Canadian Press, broke his leg last June and the Boston Bruins chose not to renew his contract.

He said he has no interest in returning to professional hockey and is now devoting all his energy to setting up a ranch in British Columbia for abused children.

That was part of the reason for his return to Swift Current. He picked up checks totalling $14, 086 from the Broncos and local service groups for the ranch, which is expected to open in the summer of 1999.

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Sheldon Kennedy Begins Anti-Abuse Crusade
January 29, 1998
Associated Press

SWIFT CURRENT, Saskatchewan - Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy has made a bittersweet return to the city where he suffered years of sexual abuse from his junior league coach.

"My goal now is not to be a hockey player, but a person who tries to educate kids and adults about abuse," Kennedy told about 300 students Thursday at St. Joseph's Middle School. "I just wish that I would have had the opportunity for somebody to speak to me about abuse."

Kennedy, 28, was sexually abused by Graham James, former coach of the Swift Current Broncos. James was a respected championship coach in the WHL until 1996. He is now serving a 42-month prison sentence for molesting players.

"When I had to deal with what James did to me, I was confused, believe me," Kennedy told the students. "You hold so much fear inside yourself, you don't want to have friends...he stole my ability to love the game. I played for eight years in the NHL and didn't really enjoy it."

After leaving the Broncos in 1989, Kennedy went on to play in the NHL for eight years with Detroit, Calgary and Boston. Kennedy said he spent those years using drugs and alcohol in an effort to overcome his pain and still suffers anxiety and sleeplessness. He urged kids to talk openly about abuse because that's the only way to conquer it.

"That's my whole message -- to make it an easier thing to talk about in life."

Eighth grader Courtney Byer said she thinks Kennedy's efforts will help get the message across.

"I'm proud of him because I would never be able to do anything like that," Byer said.

Wednesday night, Kennedy was honored by the Broncos in the arena where he was a star player in the late 1980's. A sellout crowd of 3,200 cheered as Kennedy dropped the puck in a ceremonial faceoff for a game between the Broncos and the Brandon Wheat Kings.

"I would like to thank the whole community of Swift Current," Kenendy told the crowd. "There were a lot of things going through my mind coming here today, and one of them was fear...but everyone has greeted me with open arms."

When Kennedy spoke publicly last year about the abuse, the ensuing scandal tarnished the image of junior hockey and prompted the CHL to commission a review of the system.

The review recommended screening procedures for coaches, employees and volunteers to protect teenagers who spend time away from home playing for elite teams.

Kennedy, who last played for the Boston Bruins, broke his leg last June and says he has no interest in returning to professional hockey.

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Former Wing Kennedy Makes Difficult Return
January 30, 1998
Free Press News Services

SWIFT CURRENT, Saskatchewan -- Former Red Wings forward Sheldon Kennedy has made a bittersweet return to the city where he suffered years of sexual abuse from his junior league coach.

"My goal now is not to be a hockey player, but a person who tries to educate kids and adults about abuse," Kennedy told about 300 students Thursday at St. Joseph's middle school.

"I just wish that I would have had the opportunity for somebody to speak to me about abuse."

Kennedy, 28, was sexually abused by Graham James, former coach of the Swift Current Broncos.

James was a respected championship coach in the Western Hockey League until 1996. He is serving a 42-month prison sentence for molesting players.

"When I had to deal with what Graham James did to me, I was confused, believe me," Kennedy told the students.

"You hold so much fear inside yourself, you don't want to have friends.... He stole my ability to love the game. I played eight years in the NHL and didn't really enjoy it."

After leaving the Broncos in 1989, Kennedy played in the NHL for eight years with the Red Wings, Calgary and Boston. Kennedy said he spent those years using drugs and alcohol in an effort to overcome his pain, and still suffers anxiety and sleeplessness. He urged kids to talk openly about abuse because that's the only way to conquer it.

"I'm proud of him because I would never be able to do anything like that," eighth-grader Courtney Byer said.

Wednesday night, Kennedy was honored by the Broncos in the arena where he was a star player in the late 1980s. A sellout crowd of 3,200 cheered as Kennedy dropped the puck in a ceremonial face-off for a game between the Broncos and the Brandon Wheat Kings.

"I would like to thank the whole community of Swift Current," Kennedy told the crowd. "There were a lot of things going through my mind coming here today, and one of them was fear.... But everyone has greeted me with open arms."

When Kennedy spoke publicly last year about the abuse, the ensuing scandal tarnished the image of junior hockey and prompted the Canadian Hockey League to commission a review of the system. The review recommended screening procedures for coaches, employees and volunteers to protect teenagers who spend time away from home playing for elite teams.

Kennedy, who last played for the Boston Bruins, suffered a broken leg last June. He says he has no interest in returning to professional hockey.

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HEARTACHE ISN'T OVER: Kennedy Thinks More Charges Ahead
February, 28, 1998
By Bill Kaufmann

Graham James' conviction for indecently assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 1971 won't be the last, predicts Sheldon Kennedy.

"I still strongly believe we're going to see a lot more action in the Graham James case -- this is a small part of the wedge," said Kennedy, whose disclosure he was abused 350 times by James during the 1980's and 1990's led to the former hockey coach's first conviction in 1997. "He made a career out of it, he's a typical pedophile."

James pleaded guilty yesterday in a Winnepeg court to the assault and got a six-month sentence. But it will be served concurrently and won't add time to the 3 1/2 years he's serving for assaulting Kennedy and another junior player.

"It's hard to imagine it's just us," Kenendy said.

The latest sentencing, he said, should at least postpone any early release for James.

In court, James said he was sorry and defense counsel Paul Simmonds said his client pleaded guilty to spare the complainant -- now in his 40's -- the need to testify.

"I'm sorry for my actions and the problems that resulted and I hope that this brings closure," were James' only words before Judge Brian Corrin passed sentence.

Although the case represents another unfortunate instance of abuse, Kennedy said the guilty plea further vindicates his decision to confront James.

"When I made my complaint, a lot of people started questioning the way I thought," said the former Calgary Flame, adding the same was likely true for the latest complainant. "The guy's going to be able to help himself because (victims) think they're in the wrong for so many years."

James' lawyer said his client, an inmate at the maximum-security Rockwood Institution near Winnepeg, has shown progress with his counselling and is a good candidate for release into the community.

Meanwhile, Kennedy said construction should begin later this year on the ranch he's building for young victims of sexual abuse near Radium, B.C.

"We should have kids there by the summer of 1999," he said.

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James Pleads Guilty Again
February 28, 1998
Sasha Nagy and Mario Toneguzzi

Former hockey coach Graham James plead guilty Friday to the indecent assault of a 14-year-old boy in 1971, but he won't have to serve any additional time in prison.

James, 44, is just over one year into a 2-year sentence he received in Calgary for the sexual assault of former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy when he played in junior hockey. In Winnepeg, Judge Brian Corrin agreed with a crown and defense recommendation that James receive a six-month concurrent sentence.

Kenendy was surprised by the judge's decision. "I think it's a joke," he said Friday night. "So what if he pleaded guilty? He got no time. He got nothing. I feel sorry for the (victim) who went through this grief. This is rediculous."

Kennedy hopes the decision doesn't deter other sexual-assault victims from coming forward. "We've got the ball rolling. We need more people to come forward and more people to take a serious look at this whole thing. We should keep pressing for longer sentences."

Calgary police Det. Brian Bell, who headed the investigation into Kennedy's charges against James, described Friday's sentence as a slap on the wrist. He said it would hurt the efforts to bring other victims forward. James should have received the maximum penalty, in this case, five years, he said.

He said his investigation into James in the fall of 1996 led him to believe that James' sexual deviance had been apparent much earlier than the mid-1980's, when he came into contact with Kennedy.

In 1971, James coached the 14-year-old he admitted assaulting in Winnepeg, but a ban remains in force on publication on publication of details, including the identity of the complainant. Defense counsel Saul Simmonds said his client pleaded guilty to spare the complainant -- now in his 40's -- the need to testify.

"I'm sorry for my actions and the problems that resulted and I hope that this brings closure.," James said before Corrin passed sentence.

Crown counsel Dale Harvey stayed with a charge of gross indecency in connection with the same incident. James could not be convicted of both offenses, and the indecent-assault charge was the more serious of the two.

Simmonds said James has been receiving counselling in prison and noted officials are happy with his progress.

"My impression is that Mr. James is likely to be a candidate for the successful reintroduction into the community," Corrin said. James was charged last October when the victim approached police after James' conviction for assaulting Kennedy and another junior player became public.

The conviction of James forced hockey officials across the country to review policies relating to sexual abuse. Last month, the CHA said it would launch a $350,000 national education program on sexual abuse.

Mike Bruni, who coordinates the Turning-Point program, said locking up James isn't needed to make the sport safe for young children.

"Sentencing per se will not impact whether or not people will come forward," Bruni said. "With these types of abuse, the decision of Sheldon Kennedy to come forward has really encouraged people to not put up with that type of conduct."

Calgary MP and Reform justice critic Art Hanger expressed outrage at the concurrent sentence.

"This is ludicrous." Hanger said. "It's rubbing salt in the wounds of Graham James' victims. The message to pedophiles should be clear: two strikes and you're out."

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Sheldon Kennedy To Announce Skate Across Canada For Child Abuse at a Press Conference
April 29, 1998

WHAT: Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy will hold a press conference to announce his plans to inline skate across Canada to raise awareness for the issure of child abuse. In the tradition of Rick Hansen and Terry Fox, Sheldon will begin his journey in St. John's, Newfoundland on May 30, 1998. The trek will cover 8,000 kilometers in 136 days while visiting every major Canadian city as well as those communities that border the TransCanada Highway. Sheldon's mission has gained the support of many NHL players and alumni, political leaders, television celebrities, and international corporations.

Specific information including planned events, corporate support, logistics, use of proceeds, and other pertinent information will be shared at the press conference.

Sheldon Kennedy states, "It frustrates me to see that so much abuse continues in our society. I hope that by skating across Canada I can reach out to children, educate them, and hope that they can learn from my story."

Christopher Brown of the Sheldon Kenendy Foundation states, "Sheldon has made this his vision in life. We are continually inspired by his dedication, determination, and concern for our children."

WHEN: Monday, May 4, 1998 at 10:30 AM EST.
WHERE: The Atrium of the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
WHO: The press conference will be hosted by Sheldon and Jana Kennedy, Christopher Brown, Wayne McNeil (Board Member), Dr. Brian Shaw (Chief, Mental Health for Hospital for Sick Children), and Gordon Kirke (Attorney, Author of "Players First Report").
WHY: Sheldon and Jana Kennedy established the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation to aid and comfort the victims of child abuse. Utilizing 600 acres of land in Radium, B.C., Sheldon is seeking to develop the "Anaphe Ranch" where children and their families can retreat and take the first steps to recovery. A happy, therapeutic environment with first-rate, professional counselors -- a place where Sheldon can truly offer a new life to abused children.

For further information: Deanna Brown, (403) 265-3305
--Canadian Newswire

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Kennedy Skates to Raise Child Abuse Awareness
May 1 1998
ESPN Sportszone news services

TORONTO -- A former NHL player who shocked the hockey world when he revealed he was sexually abused by his junior coach will inline skate across Canada to raise awareness of child abuse.

Sheldon Kennedy's story of being abused by Graham James captured headlines across North America last year.

"It frustrates me to see that so much abuse continues in our society," Kennedy said. "I hope that by skating across Canada I can reach out to children, educate them, and hope they can learn from my story."

Kennedy will begin his 5,000 mile journey in St. John's Newfoundland, on May 30. He'll use inline skates for his planned 136-day trip, visiting cities and towns along the TransCanada Highway.

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Canadian Parks and Recreation Association Salutes Sheldon Kennedy on Cross-Country Skate

PENTICTON, BC, May 4 /CNW/ - In what was certainly a powerful and emotional session, Sheldon Kennedy brought many to tears during his address at the Canadian Parks/Recreation Association's annual conference. Admired for his talent on ice, it was his courage and perseverance in going public with his ordeal that has become a spark to the major issue of harassment and abuse of young athletes.

"We need to educate ourselves about abuse", said Kennedy. "We need to take it to a level where people are not afraid to talk about it."

In 1997 the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation was established to raise money for abused children. Today, the Sheldon Kennedy Cross-Canada Skate for abused children was launched in Toronto and promises to be one of the largest national fund-raising events ever. It is Sheldon and his wife Jana's dream to use the generated funds to build Anaphe Ranch, a retreat for abused children and their families. Anaphe is the greek goddess of spiritual healing and a protector of children, a very appropriate and meaningful name for the ranch.

"We want to just offer kids the chance to be relaxed in life", Kennedy said. "It was the mountains that helped me heal and I want to give that same chance to kids"

. The Canadian Parks/Recreation Association admires Sheldon for the tremendous courage it has taken to come forward and bring the issue of harassment and abuse out of the shadows. His efforts have allowed us to look at the issue from a totally new perspective-through Sheldon's eyes, the eyes of experience and we thank him for that. Harassment and abuse is an issue facing communities throughout Canada. The recreation delivery system has a responsibility to be aware of the issues, to take a proactive role in prevention and to have in place mechanisms to be equipped to address them. On Friday, May 1 the Association approved a national policy to help identify key issues related to harassment and abuse and to provide a framework on which action can be taken.

Sheldon's 136 day Cross-Canada Skate will take him through a number of communities across Canada and the Canadian Parks/Recreation Association's President, Neil Semenchuk urges the recreation community to get involved. Children in every community are encouraged to lace up and join in. So, plan an event, rally your community, and get ready because Sheldon is coming to town and he needs our support.

For further information on how your community can support the Sheldon Kennedy Cross-Canada Skate for Abused Children please contact the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation at (403) 265-3305. Donations to the Foundation can be made at 1-800-692-6690.

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Kennedy to Skate Across Canada To Fight Sex Abuse-- Ex NHLer Hopes Rollerblading Journey Educates Kids, Parents
May 5, 1998
By Mary Ormsby

Sheldon Kennedy's personal path of liberation from a past of sexual abuse is not a journey he'll continue to make alone.

He intends to reach out-- with his hands and his heart -- to Canadian children and their parents on a coast-to-coast rollerblading journey to raise funds and awareness to fight sexual abuse.

"I really want to be able to enlighten (people) about the word abuse and simplify it," said Kennedy, who stunned the hockey world last year with revelations that his junior coach had abused him for six years.

Sexual abuse "has been locked up in a safe for years and nobody wanted to look at it...I want to help uplift (abused) kids who feel like an alien when they come to ask questions, that's what stops them from asking for help."

In a trek inspired by those of the late Terry Fox and wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen, Kennedy will cover more than 8,000 kilometers starting May 30 in St. John's and finishing October 12 in Vancouver. He will blade nearly 100 Km a day, taking some days off, and plans to arrive in Toronto on July 5 after a Canada Day stop in Ottawa. He wants children to rollerblade with him when possible.

"I want to be right there, right in the middle of the kids, that's the way to educate," Kenendy said yesterday, with his wife Jana looking on in a news conference at the Hospital for Sick Children. "I never wanted to have an image of me skating by myself because you feel all alone when you're dealing with sexual abuse, that's the scary part."

The former Boston Bruin said he hopes to raise $15 million - $20 million on his 136-day skate to build and endow the planned Anaphe Ranch in Radium, B.C. It is to be a therapeutic environment facility where abused children can receive comprehensive medical and psychological care.

An eight-year veteran of the NHL, Kennedy last year broke his leg in nine places and effectively ended his pro career -- for the meantime. The 28-year-old said that while he's consumed with his "mission," he hasn't ruled out and NHL comeback.

Kennedy said current and former NHLers will join him to skate various legs.

However, no officials from the NHL or NHLPA attended the announcement. A spokesperson from the NHLPA, which has supported fundraising golf events for Kennedy, said the union would have shown up if it had known about the press conference.

However, the CHL commissioner Dave Branch along with former NHLer Mark Napier, coach of the St. Michael's Majors, and Toronto sports lawyer Gordon Kirke, who authored the "Players First" report after Kennedy went public with his story of former Swift Current Broncos coach Graham James.

James is slated for a parole hearing in late August at the Rockwood Institution outside oif Winnepeg. He is serving 3 1/2 years for sexually abusing Kennedy and another teenage player while coaching the Broncos of the WHL.

Kennedy hopes his campaign will improve communication between parents and children to guard against sexual predators.

"When I came out with my story, I saw so many responses come my way, so many kids asking for my help," he said. "We want to let kids understand what abuse is because they don't know what it is that's happening to them."

As for his own healing, Kennedy said he still has his "ups and downs" but the good moments are now outweighing the bad.

"It's very much a personal journey, the kids will help me out in a huge way...just the looks on their faces will help me forever," he said.

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Cross-Country For The Kids
May 8, 1998
By Robert Benzie

Living, as we do, in an age where professional athletes strangle their coaches, petulantly refuse $100-million contracts, become deadbeat dads to the children they sire, and literally get away with murder, hockey player Sheldon Kennedy is an inspiration.

Living, as we do, in an age when the woe-is-me victim culture prevails and childhood traumas are too often used as convenient excuses for deviant behavior by miscreants, human being Sheldon Kennedy is an inspiration.

Kennedy -- as even those who avoid the sports section must know -- was sexually abused as a youngster by his trusted coach , friend and mentor Graham James.

Two years ago, the NHL veteran bravely came forward with his tragic story and helped get the perverted, manipulative James put behind bars. His remarkable candor landed him on Oprah and the front pages of every newspaper in Canada, shedding light on hockey's deepest, darkest secret and forcing all of us to come to terms with the unthinkable -- that evil could lurk inside our beloved national game.

By revealing his innermost pain and exposing himself to possible humiliation in the macho world of pro sports, he proved he may just be the toughest guy around.

Like Brooklyn Dodgers' great Jackie Robinson -- who smashed baseball's color barrier in 1947, opening doors for minorities far from the playing field -- Kennedy righted a wrong and set a fine example for us all.

No longer should child victims feel they have to suppress the horrors afflicted upon them or be afraid of bringing their abusers to justice. Sheldon Kennedy has shown it's okay to speak out; that they have done nothing wrong; and that the shame is not theirs.

Just months after being named 1997 newsmaker of the year by Canadian Press, Kennedy is garnering headlines with his courage and decency. This past Monday in Toronto, he launched an odyssey he hopes will help other victims of sexual abuse.

Starting May 30, Kennedy will rollerblade across the country to try and raise up to $20 million for a planned ranch in Radium, BC, where abused children can receive medical and psychological treatment.

Skating 100 km a day and allowing for some time off along the way, he expects to complete his 8,000 km journey in October.

"When I came out with my story, I (had) so many kids asking for my help," Kennedy told reporters. "We want to let kids understand what abuse is, because they don't know what it is that's happening to them."

As he rolls along from Newfoundland to B.C., the former Boston Bruin wants children to join him on their blades as he glides through their various hometowns.

"It's very much a personal journey. The kids will help me out in a huge way," said Kennedy, adding that he'll find strength in the faces of young Canadians. "I never wanted to have an image of me (rollerblading) by myself, because you feel all alone when you're dealing with sexual abuse," he said. "That's the scary part."

Cut by the Bruins after an injury last summer, the amiable Manitoban didn't wallow in self-pity at the apparent end of an NHL career like so many athletes might.

Instead, he threw himself into helping others, channeling his energy into a cross-country trek he believes can alert others to the problem of child sex abuse and raise millions for a worthy cause. Just as Terry Fox and Rick Hansen enthralled Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Kennedy wants to use his inline skates to chart a pathway to a better society.

It is a noble and selfless goal, entirely uncharacteristic of today's spoiled sports heroes.
Of course, Kennedy has risen above and beyond a mere game, inspiring us not with his play, but his actions.
And, as everyone knows, actions speak louder than words.

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Kennedy's Journey Liberating
May 9, 1998
By Mary Ormsby

Sheldon Kennedy is still not well. He's getting there, thankfully, but the work is still not finished in helping this wounded man to heal.

That, in itself, is as sobering a message as Kennedy can deliver in his cross-Canada rollerblading campaign to raise awareness and funds to fight the sexual abuse of children.

There is no quick cure for kids who have been tortured by sexual predators.

But victims can get better with time. That may seem impossible to those who feel so utterly alone in their devistation. Yet, Kennedy assures them that they will feel good about themselves again with the love and support of family, friends and professionals dedicated to salvaging scarred souls.

Still, courage is needed.

What the former Boston Bruin wants to emphasize is that recovery cannot begin until victims take the first and most terrifying step: tell somebody.

The eight-year veteran waited nearly 14 years to eventually confront his demon called Graham James. This cruel and conniving so-called "coach" of the Swift Current Broncos forced two of his juniorplayers, Kennedy and another unnamed victim, to perform sex acts for his personal pleasure. James began abusing Kennedy when he was 14 and continued to do so for six more years.

Kennedy's nightmare began to lift when he went to the Calgary police. James pleaded guilty to sexual assault on the two players and was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. He's now seeking parole.

It takes tremendous bravery for people to admit a secret they consider so shameful that they feel others would neither believe, understand nor forgive them.

"I had a hard enough time dealing with it when I was 28," Kennedy said this week after announcing his trans-Canada journey will begin May 30 at St. John's. "I can't imagine a kid who's 10 or 12 trying to deal with it."

And that is one of the many reasons he is focused on encouraging children, in particular, to speak out if they have been touched by someone older. The faster that is done, the quicker the healing can begin.

Keeping his secret for so long ruined what should have been the most glorious time of Kennedy's hockey career. He felt like James' prisoner even during his NHL tenure because his buried pain chained him to an agonizing past. Kennedy said the relief he felt in finally sharing the truth with others, coupled with professional counselling, has set his freedom in motion. He's not quite there yet and is using this 8,000-km journey as a form of cathartic therapy.

Dr. Brian Shaw, the chief of child psychiatry for Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, said Kennedy's selfless words and actions should make a major impact on all Canadians.

"Sometimes the inner journeys are the most difficult, the ones we travel in our minds...how we travel from inner turmoil to inner peace is a difficult one to understand," he said. "Taking an inner journey and making it public is courageous and support is key to confronting the aspects of one's life that are so painful."

It is worthwhile to repeat that most adults involved in sports are caring people that would never harm a child. That is a fact as much as the awful reality that sexual predators are irresistably drawn to organizations for children, such as hockey.

Education, parental vigilance and communication with families are key to prevention.

And with every word of this message and each stroke of his blades, enjoy watching Sheldon Kennedy speed across Canada and closer to his personal liberation.

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Sheldon Kennedy's Mission
May 20, 1998

After hearing dozens of first-hand accounts of abuse and intimidation of amateur hockey players, former NHL star Sheldon Kennedy says it's about time the Canadian Hockey Association acknowledges the widespread problem.

"I always knew there was a lot more than what has come out," Kennedy said yesterday.

"It's been happening for a long, long time and it's so nice to see everybody take the bull by the horns."

The association, which sets standards for Canada's amateur hockey players aged eight to 19, revealed last weekend that abuse of young players is rampant across the country.

The association plans a countrywide campaign to educate the more than 75,000 coaches who deal with over 520,000 hockey players.

The CHA will fund and distribute throughout Canada's 2,000 minor hockey associations a video and materials for coaches, managers, trainers and others involved in teams. The association also has a Web site containing information.

Kennedy said he has heard scores of stories about abuse on and off the ice.

Kennedy spoke out in late 1996 about being abused hundreds of times by his coach Graham James, when the two were with Saskatchewan's Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League.

James is now serving a jail sentence for the assaults.

Kennedy believes parents push their kids too hard in sports. Hoping to cash in on the big bucks offered by the professional league, some parents bully their children, yelling at them and criticizing their play, he said.

Kennedy, who played for NHL teams in Detroit, Calgary and Boston, plans to in-line skate across the country to raise almost $20 million to build and set up a ranch for sexually abused children.

"It's key we keep it at the forefront for a while now and make a change," he said at a press conference held Tuesday by the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

The Stamps are the first professional team to endorse Kennedy. They gave him $1,000 and a Stamps shirt to wear on the skate-a-thon.

Kennedy, who turns 29 next month, said he is anxious to begin his across-country trek, pushing off in St. John's, Nfld., on May 30.

"I just want to go, like a horse in the chute," he said.

Source: Canadian press
CBC For Kids

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Stamps Kick Off Sheldon's Journey
May 20, 1998
By Al Ruckaber

Calgary Stampeders are the first pro sports team to step forward to help Sheldon Kennedy's inline skate across Canada to raise awareness on child sex abuse.

The CFL's Stampeders yesterday became official sponsors for Kennedy's planned trek from St. John's, Nfld. to the West Coast, starting May 30.

Kennedy's journey, called Skate Across Canada, aims to raise funds to build a summer ranch for victimized children.

Kennedy brought international attention to the issue of abuse in minor league sports last year when he went public about sexual abuse he suffered as a junior hockey player. His former coach, Graham James, has been convicted.

Stampeders officials presented Kennedy with a $1,000 check for his foundation, as well as a No. 98 jersey with his name on it. They also gave him workout gear.

As part of the deal, Kennedy will also skate the game ball from Edmonton for the September 7 Labor Day game between the Stampeders and the Eskimos at McMahon Stadium.

Kennedy said it was ironic that it took a pro football team, rather than an NHL team, to come forward and join his cross-country movement.

"It is unique that a football team would step up, but because this was a hockey issue, it scared them," said Kennedy, 28, who played eight years in the NHL. "For a time, hockey felt the issue would roll over and go away. But others realize it won't. I think it's awesome that we could tap into the CFL."

Kennedy hopes the Stampeders' commitment to his trek will start a chain reaction among pro sports teams.

"I've spoken to Ken Dryden (Toronto Maple Leafs president) and I know we have their support," he said. "But as far as stepping up, none of the hockey teams has as of yet."

Stampeders GM/head coach Wally Buono downplayed the fact the Stamps are first to pledge support.

"I'd hope all proteams in Canada will come forward and support him," Buono said. "He experienced the abuse himself and had enough courage to come forward to do something about it."

The issue was again in the spotlight during the Canadian Hockey Association's annual meeting in Quebec City on Monday. The association outlined a litany of what it called a "sickening catalogue" of abuse, and vowed to more zealously go after perpetrators.

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Kennedy is Blitzed by Abuse Complaints
May 20, 1998
By Carol Harrington

CALGARY (CP) - After being bombarded by first-hand accounts of abuse and intimidation of amateur hockey players, Sheldon Kennedy says it's about time the CHA acknowledges the widespread problem.

"I always knew there was a lot more than what came out," Kennedy, a former NHL player, said at a press conference Tuesday. "It's been happening for a long, long time and it's nice to see everybody taking the bull by the horns."

The association, which sets standards for Canada's amateur hockey players aged eight to 19, revealed last weekend that abuse of young players is rampant across the country.

The CHA cited cases such as a hockey scout charged with sexual assault, youngsters vomiting into buckets after being overworked by a coach, and players inserting toothpaste into another player's rectum. The association plans a countrywide campaign to educate the more than 75,000 coaches who deal with over 520,000 hockey players.

The CHA will fund and distribute Canada's 2,000 minor hockey associations a video and materials for coaches, managers, trainers and others involved in teams. The association also has a website containing information.

Kennedy said he has heard scores of stories about abuse on and off the ice.

"I wasn't the guy who was going to blow the horn on everybody," he said, adding it is up to the victims to decide if they want to go public.

Kennedy spoke out in late 1996 about being abused hundreds of times by his coach Graham James, when the two were with Saskatchewan's Swift Current Broncos of the WHL.

James is now serving a jail sentence for the assaults.

Kennedy believes parents push their kids too hard in sports. Hoping to cash in on the big bucks offered by the professional league, some parents bully their children, yelling at them and criticizing their play, he said.

Kennedy, who played for NHL teams in Detroit, Calgary and Boston, plans to inline skate across the country to raise almost $20 million to build and set up a ranch for sexually abused children.

"It's key we keep it at the forefront for a while now and make a change," he said at a press conference held Tuesday by the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL.

The Stamps are the first professional team to endorse Kennedy. They gave him $1,000 and a Stamps shirt to wear on the sakte-a-thon.

Kennedy, who turns 29 next month, said he is anxious to begin his across-country trek, pushing off in St. John's Nfld., on May 30.

"I just want to go, like a horse in the chute," he said.

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Kennedy Eager To Start Road Trip of a Lifetime; Kids Top Agenda of Cross-Country Skating Odyssey
May 23, 1998
By Tom Keyser

He's doing this for all of the innocent kids who've been robbed of a fear-free youth.
He's doing this for the self-loathing, suicidal teenager he used to be.
And for Ryan Kennedy, who's two.

"I know if this ever happened to my daughter...I'd be in jail for murder," said Sheldon Kennedy, his eyes on fire. "You know what's amazing? She's helped me as much as anybody -- and she can't even speak."

On May 30, Canada's most celebrated and outspoken victim of sexual abuse will lace up his inline skates in Newfoundland and embark from St. John's on a four-month, Atlantic-to-Pacific road trip.

Purpose: To raise funds, and national consciousness, on behalf of victims of abuse in all its guises.

"Even if we don't make a penny, we'll have an impact on at least 500,000 kids across the country," said the ex-NHLer, whose junior coach Graham James was jailed for reportedly abusing the teenaged Kennedy. "I want people to reach the grass roots, to put together something that will stick with people -- to simplify the issue, so that kids can understand it. So people aren't scared of the word."

His Calgary-based Sheldon Kennedy Foundation will spend an estimated $200,000 to start the wheels turning, a sum argumented by the cream of corporate Canada: Vehicles on loan from Chrysler. Free gas from Imperial Oil. A hummer from Nike. Then there are Coca-Cola, CIBC, footballs Calgary Stampeders, and non-corporate supporters such as Scouts Canada, and the NHL alumni.

The goals are ambitious: a summer ranch for victimized children. Maybe several.

"I'd like to put another in Ontario, maybe on in Quebec, or the Maritimes. Use the ranch out here for internships, young doctors to study the causes of abuse."

And there's something else.

From the outset of his odyssey, Kennedy, 28, plans to savor a pleasure that's quite new: the enjoyment of his own company, as he rolls west on blue highways -- alone.

"I'm gonna feel free. I've never had much time to myself -- I was always scared to be alone," he confessed.

Since Kennedy broke his public silence 16 months ago, he has settled into the "normal" lifestyle he craved all his life, but moments of crisis still blindside him.

"I know when to call (my therapist). I know when it's coming. I talk to myself to slow myself down. I can only stay in the office three to four hours at a time," said the outdoors-loving son of Manitoba dairy farmers.

At times, too, he contemplates a return the the NHL. "(My problems) made my whole career different. I needed to medicate myself (with booze/drugs). You let yourself be mediocre -- you always do things to keep yourself down."

Eight years in the league, Kenendy feels he never came close to playing his best.

And he savors the memory of hearing Colorado star Joe Sakic say Kennedy is the best winger he ever played with.

Then again, Kenendy hasn't watched a period of the '98 playoffs, though his ex-team -- Detroit -- is in the hunt.

Plus, he added: "This year, I totally felt comfortable. I knew I wasn't gonna get traded, my family would be here the full year. I'd like to go back. But I want to make sure I can handle the responsibility."

Believing his binge days are history, Kennedy now limits himself to "a few beers" during family barbeques.

Fear and dispair began to shadow Kennedy at age 14, when he was first targeted by James, his minor hockey coach. To him, the memories seem unreal. Like tuning into the science fiction channel.

Watching the young hockey player unable to sleep, "because Graham used to crawl around on the floor. I used to sleep on the road, because I knew he could never get me."

He contemplated suicide so frequently the thought ceased to spook him.

"You feel like an alien," Kennedy shrugged.

He drank, took dope, stayed out all night -- "Like, a night hawk, man. I never thought I'd get out of that whirlwind," said Kennedy, whose current routine involves 6 AM wakeups and 10 PM bedtimes. Then came salvation -- Kenendy's wife, Jana, and Ryan, their two-year-old.

"They've been a huge help. That was the turning point -- the first time I had ever really FELT anything. I needed that stability in my life," he said. "Probably in another year, I would've been dead. It gives me the shivers."

Instead, Kennedy has never felt fitter, more fully alive. But can he muster the stamina for a sea-to-sea skate? Not an issue, he laughed.

"Hey, you're talking to a guy who smoked two packs a day -- and still spent eight years of his life in the National Hockey League."

Photo caption (May 23, 1999 : David Lazarowych, Calgary Herald / Former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy credits his wife Jana and their daughter Ryan, 2, with helping him recover from the pain of being sexually abused as a teenaged hockey player.

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NHL's Sheldon Kennedy to Discuss Abuse in Kings County
News Release
For Release: May 26, 1998

The NHL's Sheldon Kennedy to discuss child abuse in Kings County

Boston Bruin Sheldon Kennedy will visit Kings County on Thursday, June 4 during The Sheldon Kennedy Skate Across Canada tour. Kennedy, who made national headlines last year when he made public the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his junior hockey coach Graham James, will be in-line skating across Canada to raise public awareness about child abuse.

"Instead of hiding behind [the abuse I suffered], I'd like to turn it into a positive and try to help people," says Kennedy. "I think it's going to help me deal with it too."

Kennedy will meet with Kings County children and adults at 7:30 p.m. at the Acadia University arena. Acadia Head Hockey Coach Kevin Dickie and Constable Gary Smith of the New Minas RCMP will join Kennedy when he discusses the facts on child abuse and how to prevent it. The public are invited to in-line skate with Kennedy following the presentation.

The event is free of charge, although donations to the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation are appreciated. The foundation was established to organize, develop, and manage a summer retreat for children who are victims of abuse. Named "Anaphe Ranch," the retreat will provide support for victims and their families, will subsidize continuing education on abuse for doctors, clinicians, and social workers, and will be an international reference centre for the study and prevention of child abuse. Construction on the ranch will begin in the spring of 1999.

For more information contact Andy Callaghan, Kings County Parks and Recreation Services (902) 690-6190; James Sanford, Acadia University (902) 585-1460; or Kathleen Martin, Office of Public Affairs, Acadia University (902) 585-1738.

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