The 1998 archives are below.
St. John's, Newfoundland - 5/28/98 For victims of child abuse, it’s a godsend. The former National Hockey League right-winger officially kicked off the Sheldon Kennedy Skate Across Canada journey with an appearance at a St. John’s Board of Trade luncheon before starting his 8,000-kilometre, cross-Canada in-line skate Saturday morning.
The 136-day, St- John’s-to-Vancouver rollerblading voyage is designed to raise awareness of child abuse and between $15-$20 million which will be used to construct Anaphe Ranch, a Trail, B.C. therapeutic treatment facility where abused children can receive medical and psychological care.
Kennedy, who appeared in 310 NHL games over six seasons with Detroit, Calgary and Boston, went public in 1997 with revelations his former junior coach, Graham James, had abused him for six years. James is serving a 3 1/2-year prison term for sexually abusing Kennedy and another member of the Swift Current Broncos junior hockey club.
"This journey is a mission of mine," Kennedy said Wednesday. "Having lived it, I can explain to the kids what it’s (abuse) about and how it affects you. Our mission of this whole journey is to simplify this issue. It’s way to difficult for kids to understand. I was 28-years-old, not a bad head on my shoulders, until I tried to figure this out. And it kind of threw me for a loop."
Kennedy will skate nearly 96 kilometres per day, but will be taking some time off along the way to make public appearances and meet with the media. Bringing the issue of child abuse to the forefront is part of Kennedy’s mandate. "I think it’s about time we do something about it," he said.
"I’d like to know who the person was who took the (abuse) word out of our vocabulary and put it in a safe where you need 10 combinations just to get it out and talk about it. My feeling is we got the word back in our vocabulary. Now we have to put a definition to it. Hopefully, we can accomplish that with this journey."
Kennedy will be encouraging youngsters to participate with him on the skate, impressing on them there are individuals out there who will listen to them, places to go to seek help. “I look at it a lot like drinking and driving. Fifteen years ago, if you were to throw your keys to your buddy and ask him to drive you home because you couldn’t, you’d be look at as a coward," he said.
It was a major problem, but through persistence we’ve made huge steps in that area. That’s where I want to take child abuse. It’s needed. I look at this whole thing like a snowman. We’ve got the bottom two pieces put together. And I think this journey is going to put the head on it." The tour concludes Oct. 12 in Vancouver.
(Ultramarathon World: fox.nstn.ca/~dblaikie) (St. John's Evening Telegram)
Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy took a day off from his odyssey of skating in-line across Canada today to collect a $10,000 check from the NHL Foundation. Kennedy's marathon is meant to raise awareness and money for the fight against child abuse.
"This has been such a hushed up subject in our society," said Kennedy, who came forward with his own story of having been abused as a youngster playing youth hockey.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
The dark blue sunglasses, even on a drab spring day, can't hide the pain in Sheldon Kennedy's eyes. Kennedy is improving every day; learning to like himself again. But the voice is unsteady at times and the complete recovery from abuse to angst, if that is even possible, will have to wait for a future day.
What is astonishing is that Kennedy, with his 29th birthday on June 15, survived more than 310 NHL games, scoring 49 goals as a right winger with Dteroit, Calgary and Boston. Kennedy, a puck's width under six feet, toured Halifax on inline skates friday, raising money for a camp in British Columbia that will offer rehabilitation and education for abused children. The goal for the 136-day tour is to raise $15 million to $20 million. The cross-Canada trek mirrors more than a personal journey.
Kennedy, learning trust and confidence all over again, still has as much to discover about himself as he does about the country. The Manitoba native endured years of abuse at the hands of Graham James, his head coach as a junior with the Swift Current Broncos. James was sentenced to 42 months in jail in 1996 for his crimes.
Kennedy, a gifted skater, blocked out, or at least buried, his anguish while in the NHL and the minors. Coaches wondered how he could be a demon one night and a no-show the next, unaware of the tumult under the hockey jersey. He battled alcohol and had suicidal thoughts. This time last year, Kennedy shattered his leg in nine places in a car accident in Alberta and his contract with the Bruins was not renewed. Pro hockeywas, to his pleasure, over.
Kennedy, only now able to look back on his career with any clarity, is unsure how he made it through eight pro seasons.
"I don't know how I survived, to be honest with you. I understand now how good I feel. How I look at things is totally different. I think if I went back (to the NHL) now, I could have a lot bigger impact on the game. I know I could be a lot better player. It sucks to go to an NHL rink and not really enjoy being there. That was the toughest part of it all."
Despite all the gloom of his hockey career, he still loves the game. He believes he will get a second shot at a pro career and will be better prepared this time.
"I'd like to be able to go back (to the NHL) with a clear head and give it another shot because I think I did everything in my power not to be the player I could be. If there was one thing that was stolen from me, it was my ability to have fun with the game."
He was so downcast by the end of the 1996-97 season in Boston, he said it was "a nice relief" to break his leg. After the Bruins let him go, Kennedy had no thoughts of an immediate return to the game.
"I needed a break. I needed to get to know who Sheldon Kennedy really was. It was unfortunate that I had to look at the game that way. I enjoy the game of hockey. But any time I got in trouble in the NHL, people would phone Graham and ask him for advice. I could never get away from him. I'm really enjoying this year. It's been relaxing and I've had time to try to figure myself out."
In the me-first ethos of pro sports, Kennedy was thrilled to find out that he had friends all around him when he went public with his story after the conviction of his abuser. He heard hurtful whispers as a teenage junior and lived in fear the dark secrets would leak out.. But there has been nothing but support for him as a professional.
"People who play hockey can see how easy it (abuse) can happen. They see how much power coaches have. Coaches can have power over kids and adults as well. The support was great from guys like Ray Bourque and Eric Lindros. And when we go through some NHL cities, you'll see a lot of guys showing their support."
He's watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. His old buddy, Paul Kruse, a teammate in Calgary, delighted him with a goal for the Sabres in Thursday's Buffalo-Washington game.
He also skated with Washington defenseman Phil Housley in Calgary and was happy to see him earn a ticket to the final. He recalls the playoffs as his favorite time in the pros. In 24 playoff games for the Red Wings and the Flames, he had six goals and 10 assists.
"The way I lived my life when I played in the NHL, people never had the trust level that I was going to show up to play every night because I never did (in the regular season). But I always played well in the playoffs. My head was there. I was always in the top three or four guys in scoring on my playoff teams."
His fitness may be better now than during his playing career. A summer on inline skates won't hurt. He said there are people in the NHL who know there is life in Sheldon Kennedy's hockey legs and can look beyond recent history.
"It's not that I didn't give a damn about hockey, it's that I didn't give a damn about Sheldon and how well Sheldon could do. I never cared about Sheldon. My whole career was ugly. I was always in trouble and I just didn't care. I enjoy the game and when I feel mentally strong, I think I will probably go back."
Are We There Yet?
"I played eight years in the NHL and I didn't even really care about playing there," Kennedy said. "I stuck there for eight years. Now I feel more prepared for this than I have for anything else in my life."
It has been 19 months since Kennedy spoke publicly about the abuse he suffered at the hands of Graham James, his junior hockey coach. That public statement came three days after James was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assault. Now, Kennedy continues his fight against abuse even though his NHL career is over, skating from one edge of Canada to the other. But Kennedy is not alone on this journey.
"It's really wild. You're skating here in the middle nowhere and these ladies will stick their head out the door and (yell), 'Hey Sheldon,' " he said. They remember him even though his hockey career came to an abrupt halt, the result of an all-terrain vehicle accident in which he shattered his left thigh bone in nine places. He was going to sign a new contract with the Boston Bruins the following day. As a result of the injury, the Bruins withdrew their offer. But don't describe Kennedy as heartbroken over the injury. "When I broke my leg it was an unbelievable relief," Kennedy said. "Everybody came to see me the first day after my operation, and I had this big grin on my face. I was just happy that I knew I didn't have to go back and play hockey. "As funny as that sounds to people and as stupid as that sounds it's the truth. That's the way I felt. I was relieved that I broke my leg. I didn't care if Boston signed me."
He had a rod inserted into his leg, spanning from his knee to his hip and eight screws were also put in place during the operation. While recuperating from his injury, Kennedy turned his complete attention to his foundation and its proposed ranch, a 600-acre wilderness camp designed to help the young victims of sexual abuse. He conceived his skate as a way to raise both money and awareness for his cause. Kennedy skates roughly 50 miles each day, but each day is more than skating. He and his support staff stop in towns and cities along the way, collecting donations and meeting with children and parents in open forums on the topic of abuse.
"I believe in being able to help kids and giving them the best opportunity," Kennedy said. "Right now this is the best thing that Sheldon Kennedy can offer."
The motto of his journey is "Are we there yet?" It is a double entendre. The superficial meaning: Have we completed our 5,000-mile saga. The deeper question: Are we able to openly address abuse in an effort to protect our children?
"I think I was put in this position for a reason. This is the reason I think, to do the skate and continue to raise awareness on this issue . . . Not ever before was child abuse as public as it is now. That's what I want to continue to do now." And Kennedy continues his fight to make sure no other child has the experiences he suffered. "I would never like to live the life that I lived to get to this point," Kennedy said. "At least now I know I have been through a lot, and the little things in life don't seem to bother me near as much."
The Calgary Flames are taking strides to help Sheldon Kennedy in his bid to inline skate across Canada.
The Sheldon Kennedy Foundation announced yesterday the Falmes will donate $1 for each of the 8,000 km he must skate during his journey.
"We are very excited that the Flames and the Flames family are taking the lead role among NHL teams in this regard," said the foundation's Wayne McNeil. Lanny McDonald, Flames vice-president of corporate development, also announced his golf tournament -- the Moustache Classic -- has donated $5,000 from the proceeds of this summer's event.
"It was very important for the calgary Flames to be a part of Sheldon's journey, but we wanted to make a contribution that showed Sheldon that we are behind him with every stride he takes," said McDonald. "After all, Sheldon is an alumnus and a member of the Flames family."
Kennedy set out on his 136-day journey from St. John's Nfld., on May 30 hoping to increase awareness about all forms of child abuse and help raise more than $15 million for a ranch he plans to build in the B.C. interior for young abuse victims and their families.
Kennedy stunned the world of junior hockey in 1996 with revelations that he had been sexually abused by his former coach, Graham James. The Flames join the Calgary Stampeders in teaming up with Kennedy and became the first NHL team to take an active part in helping him out.
Kennedy played with the Flames for two seasons.
DETROIT -- Former Bruin Sheldon Kennedy, making his way across Canada on inline skates to gain support for his foundation aiding victims of sexual abuse, stopped at the Joe Louis Arena for a news conference yesterday before game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals. He is skating more than 70 miles a day, picking up donations along the way, and already has some $500,000 toward building his camp in British Columbia, located just south of Banff
"The support has been just great," said kennedy, looking lean, tanned and at ease, far better than he ever looked during his days in Boston. "I'll be skating down somehighway and people will be honking their horns and yelling their support. Some woman will yell out her window, 'Go Sheldon!' They'll drive up and throw [$1 or $2 coins] in a trash bucket we're carrying. It's been tremendous."
In the end, Kennedy hopes to collect $20 million for the nearly 5,000-mile trek. The August day he arrives in Winnepeg is the same day Graham James, the junior hockey coach who sexually abused him for years, is to meet with a parole board at the local prison.
"Is that wild or what?" said Kennedy. "You can bet we'll have a rally right outside the prison."
Kenendy has fully recovered from the shattered left femur he suffered last June 17 when the recreational vehicle he was test-driving in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, flipped on him. He was alone for three hours before rescuers found him.
"My head just feels so much clearer now," said Kennedy, who has settled down in Calgary with his wife, Jana, and 2-year-old daughter, Ryan. "I really needed that break from hockey. When you're in a situation like that -- the abuse and everything -- you look at everything in your life differently. Now I can see how good a person can feel after working through something like that, and that's what really makes me want to get the camp going. There is hope if you keep working at it."
Kennedy said he hopes to play in the NHL again but has yet to formulate plans that could lead to a comeback.
Toronto, Ontario - Slam! Sports, Canada’s top site for online sports news and features today announced the launch of a site to follow the progress of hockey star Sheldon Kennedy’s cross country skate.
"I am in-line skating across Canada to raise awareness for child abuse," says Kennedy. "In 1996, I came forward about my own sexual abuse at the hands of my junior hockey coach. My following years as an NHL player were sabotaged by the constant reminder that I couldn't abuse, I hope to inspire other victims to come forward so we can begin healing ourselves and educating our society."
The Sheldon Kennedy Skate will be followed on SLAM! Sports (www.slam.ca/slamkennedyskate), and in addition to providing details about the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation and the cross Canada itinerary, will include daily reports and images from the road team accompanying Kennedy for the duration of his skate.
"Sheldon has the support of the country behind him, and without question, the support of SLAM! Sports and Canoe, and of our audience," said Dave Watkins, Executive Producer for SLAM! "If we can help him send a message out across the country and if we can help him reach people through their interest in sports, we’re proud to be able to do it."
"We are also inviting Canadians to leave Sheldon a message of encouragement when they visit the site," Watkins said.
Kennedy began his
skate from St. John's, Newfoundland on May 30. The trek will cover more
than 8,000 kilometres in 136 days while following the TransCanada Highway.
He will lead a grassroots movement to raise awareness and understanding
for the issue of child abuse while attempting to raise funds to build
and endow a summer ranch for children who have been victimized.
DETROIT (CNN/SI) -- Sheldon Kennedy wants to return to the NHL. He wants to prove to himself that he can make it back and be a better hockey player. But he has something more important to do first.
Kennedy was in familiar surroundings Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena, where he spent his first five seasons as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. He is two weeks into a cross-Canada trek on in-line skates to raise money and awareness of child sexual abuse and child abuse.
Kennedy, who turns 29 on Monday, is trying to raise $15 million to help open Anaphe Ranch, a 640-acre preserve south of Banff, Alberta. In mythology, Anaphe is a Greek goddess who is the protector of children. The Calgary-based Sheldon Kennedy Foundation already has the land.
"But we want to be able to build the ranch and also use it as a library, as an educational center for people to come and research the issue of abuse and also set up programs and put money back into programs across Canada," he said.
Actually, the goal is much simpler, Kennedy explained.
"We are trying to make Canada the safest place for kids," he said.
It has been two years since Kennedy came forward and admitted he had been abused for years by his junior hockey coach, Graham James. Confused, Kennedy turned to drugs and alcohol. Those who know him say he lived the way he played hockey -- with reckless abandon.
It was a new Sheldon Kennedy who sat in the interview room at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night.
"I think that probably all the media here know the way that I used to live my life and still played hockey, and I definitely feel 800 times better now," he said. "I played eight years, and I never lifted a weight or rode a bike in my life. I think now I am in better shape, not only physically, but mentally.
"I feel like I can be dedicated and committed to something now, whereas before, I couldn't make my mind up from one minute to the next. I'd definitely like to give [hockey] another shot, but I think not until I am done with this journey."
Kennedy left St. John's, Newfoundland on May 30th and skated some 600 miles through Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. He has 123 days and 4,800 miles remaining before he reaches his destination in Vancouver.
On an average day, he skates about 30 miles before chatting with local school children or youth hockey teams. After lunch, Kennedy's back on the road for another 30 miles.
"The kids' reactions I get, it is incredible," he said. "When I speak to the kids, I don't speak about the gory details, about the abuse. I try to enlighten the kids about what we're trying to accomplish with our journey.
"And when I speak to parents, I tell them I think we need to educate ourselves, moreso than we do the children, because we are the ones who are going to be asked the question if it ever happens. And I think we have to be prepared to answer because too many times, it is swept under the carpet because people don't understand it."
Kennedy has credibility with the children he meets because he was an NHL player. Drafted by the Red Wings in 1988, he played 183 games over five seasons with Detroit. He was traded to Winnipeg, but claimed in the 1995 waiver draft by Calgary, where he spent the next two years.
In 1996-97, he signed with Boston and had eight goals and 10 assists in 56 games before a broken leg ended his season. The Bruins did not offer him a new contract. While recovering and watching a television program about the space program, he came up with the idea to skate across Canada.
"I was thinking, 'Jeez, we can spend a billion dollars on sending a man to the moon, but we can't speak about the word abuse," Kennedy said. "And that kind of blew my mind."
Obviously, he has a unique perspective. He understands the pain experienced by victims of abuse.
"I think that trying to explain to somebody a hurt or a pain or a confusion in your head, where people can't see what is wrong with you is very different than looking at somebody with a broken leg," Kennedy said. "It is very easy to see that they are hurt. But I think when you look at somebody that looks normal but is running around doing things, I think you have to look at it in a different way."
Asked if he could ever forgive James, who is serving a jail sentence, Kennedy said, "I don't think he has anything to do with my life anymore. But for so long, he did."
Kennedy was to resume his trek Friday in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Anyone interested in contributing to the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation can call toll-free (877) 4ANAPHE. Information also can be obtained on the Internet at www.anaphe.com. ---CNN-SI
Sheldon Kennedy, whose poignant revelations last season about the sexual abuse he endured as a junior hockey player in Canada shocked the sport, has turned his attention to raising money for abused youngsters.
Kenendy, a former Bruin and Red Wing, in inline skating his way 600 miles across Canada to the northern Pacific Coast with hopes of raising $12 million to pay for construction of the Anaphe Ranch on 640 acres in British Columbia.
In Greek mythology, Anaphe is the goddess who protects children.
Kennedy held an emotional news conference Thursday night before game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals at the Joe Louis Arena.
"Our plan with the ranch is to put a place where the kids can feel comfortable to talk about whatever they want to talk about," Kennedy said. "I know how to relate to kids on this subject."
Kennedy says the ranch will tackle the challenge of reaching out to abused children who are suffering inside but seem to act and appear normal on the outside.
"People don't understand," Kennedy said. "It's more mental stress than physical because [you are] trying to explain to somebody a hurt or pain in your head where people can't visually see what is wrong with you. I think that is very different than looking at somebody with a broken leg and knowing they're hurt."
Kennedy plans to skate 123 days and 4,800 miles until he hits Vancouver. His journey began in Newfoundland earlier this spring.
Kennedy says the occurance of child abuse is far greater than people realize. He mentioned an Indian reservation in New Brunswick where, he said, 95 percent of the children have been abused.
"The skate is to raise awareness because this has been such a hush-hush subject," he said. "For us to think that this just popped up in our society is naive thinking on our part."
For more information about Kennedy's cause, call 1-877-4-ANAPHE. Donations can be made at Blockbuster Video.
TORONTO (AP) - When Sheldon Kennedy's Cross Canada Skate for Kids brought him to Toronto on Sunday, the former Boston Bruins forward was reminded of the need for his journey.
Kennedy, travelling on inline skates across Canada to raise awareness about child abuse, passed the spot where Martin Kruze committed suicide.
Kruze's public revelations regarding the sexual abuse at Maple Leaf Gardens led to a nearly two-year jail sentence for one of his abusers last October. Three days later Kruze jumped to his death.
"I think (Kruze) would have enjoyed to be a part of this," said Sheldon, who publicized his own story of abuse by his junior hockey coach.
"I think (Kruze) is probably with us in spirit right now."
Kennedy also met with Maple Leafs president and general manager Ken Dryden and several team players, including Mats Sundin and Tie Domi. The Maple Leafs have pledged $20,000 to Kennedy's cause.
"A lot of us had read stories like this on individual days and then never thought about it again," Dryden said. "With Sheldon Kennedy ... we started to realize this kind of thing could happen anywhere to anybody."
The players joined Kennedy in a symbolic skate to the SkyDome, where the Blue Jays presented him with a pin and jersey.
Kennedy estimates he has raised close to $300,000 towards his dream of opening a healing center for victims of sexual abuse.
Sheldon Kennedy asks himself that question every day when he slides into his rollerblades and prepares for another day of his 5,000-mile saga across Canada.
But he is not referring to the moment he completes his journey and arrives in Vancouver. Rather, Kennedy wants to know if people are at the point where they can comfortably talk about sexual abuse and realize that it is a problem.
"Are we there yet?" is the motto of Kennedy's trip to raise awareness about child abuse, something very familiar to the 29-year-old hockey player.
Two years ago, Kennedy came out and spoke publicly about the abuse he suffered for almost six years at the hands of Graham James, his junior hockey coach, who was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assault.
Kennedy, who played for the Boston Bruins, decided to take a leave of absence from the NHL after the trial. He and his wife, Jana, devoted their time to launching the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation, established in July 1997 to enlighten the public to the pervasiveness of child abuse.
In May 1998, the Kennedy Foundation began building a ranch, a summer retreat for healing abused children, and Kennedy started his skate across Canada to raise further awareness about sexual abuse.
"Canada is the second-largest country in the world," Kennedy, who just passed through Winnipeg, said in a telephone interview. "It's a long ways to cross, but it's definitely worth it."
The 136-day Canada adventure began May 30 when Kennedy rolled out of St. John's, Newfoundland, and it is scheduled to end on Oct. 12 when he arrives in Vancouver. Each day, he skates approximately 50 miles, but along the way he and his support staff stop in towns and cities, collecting donations and meeting with children and parents in open forums to discuss the topic of abuse. So far, the trip has generated $1.7 million in donations.
"You can look at someone who broke their leg and know what kind of pain they're going through," Kennedy said. "But people have a hard time realizing what kind of pain an abused child goes through."
Kennedy shares his personal stories and the feelings he experienced as a victim with kids throughout Canada in hopes that his openness will touch people, while bringing the issue to light.
And that, he says, is a full-time job.
In July, Kennedy's staff members arranged for the skater and his team to spend a day at Mighty Ducks coach Craig Hartsburg's summer home in Ontario. Hartsburg said that the former NHL player was extremely open about his experience.
"He's a pretty courageous kid," Hartsburg said. "I don't think anybody realized sexual abuse was even an issue in hockey."
Kennedy has been stopped by people of all ages who just want to give him a hug or talk. One woman, he said, started to tell him how great she thought the cause was and suddenly started to cry.
"I think every day, more and more people are becoming educated about this issue," Kennedy said. "We're just trying to make Canada and all of North America more safe for kids."
Kennedy, who has taken time away from his wife and 2-year-old daughter for this journey, said he is primarily skating solo but often receives company from kids and adults who see him passing by.
Cars honk. People cheer. And in Winnipeg, people lined the streets for his arrival.
But, Kennedy noted, the skate is just the tip of the iceberg.
When the trip concludes, Kennedy said he will continue to work on a movie about his foundation, the issue of sexual abuse and his Canadian skate. He said he will probably only make the 5,000-mile skate once, but plans are already in the making to organize a yearly skate in various provinces.
Anything to raise awareness.
"Child abuse in general is just a silent thing," Kennedy said. "It's a taboo that needs to change."
And when that taboo changes Kennedy hopes he will be able to answer yes to the question he asks himself everyday.
Are we there yet?
By KERRY MURRAY, Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service
John Wall, MLA for Swift Current, on behalf of Municipal Government Minister Carol Teichrob, today marked Sheldon Kennedy Day in Saskatchewan by announcing the province is contributing $25,000 to the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation.
"We would like to commend Sheldon Kennedy for all that he has done to raise the profile of sexual abuse of children and the positive measures he has taken to help those who have been abused," Wall said.
Wall is presenting Kennedy with the provincial contribution during a community barbecue, marking Sheldon Kennedy Day, in Swift Current.
"Ensuring the safety and well-being of children is a responsibility shared by every member of the community," Wall added. "We are pleased to support Kennedy's commitment to raising the level of public awareness and education around this difficult issue."
In Saskatchewan, a range of responses to deal with the issue of sexual abuse of children are offered by a combination of government and non-government agencies. These include prevention, early intervention, counseling and treatment services. For example, Saskatchewan's Action Plan for Children funds many community initiated projects for at-risk children.
The provincial contribution towards Kennedy's efforts to raise public awareness and education is provided through the Associated Entities Fund. Since the beginning of 1997, nearly $3 million in casino profits has been distributed throughout Saskatchewan for programs that support children, youth and families.
Associated Entities Fund receives a portion of the profits from Casino Regina, The Gold Eagle Casino, North Battleford; the Northern Lights Casino, Prince Albert; and the Painted Hand Casino in Yorkton.
NOTE TO EDITORS: John Wall, MLA for Swift Current will make the cheque presentation to Sheldon Kennedy at a community barbecue in Swift Current tonight at 6:30pm. The event is being held at the Palliser Pavillion at Kinetic Park.
For more information, contact:
Kennedy Wants to Play for Senators
Sunday 30 August 1998
Ex-Bruin's return to NHL complicated by other matters
The Ottawa Citizen
Sheldon Kennedy wants to return to the NHL -- and the Ottawa Senators rank near the top of the list of teams he would like to play for.
Kennedy, in Alberta near the end of his cross-country rollerblade tour to raise money and awareness of child sexual abuse, says his preference is to play for a Canadian team.
He has asked his agent, Jeff Jackson, to drum up some interest. Jackson has already spoken with four teams and plans to speak with Senators general manager Rick Dudley this week.
"Whether it's out west, in Ottawa or in Florida, we're not sure," says Jackson. "Sheldon has a preference to play in Canada, but we're going to monitor teams closely to see what fits best."
Dudley says he's aware of Kennedy's interest in returning to the NHL after a one-year layoff, but he wasn't aware Ottawa was one of the teams he was considering.
"To be totally honest, I haven't seen him play much in the last little while," Dudley says. "I think the last time I saw him play was at least a few years ago."
Kennedy's possible return to the NHL is complicated by the fact his skate across Canada won't be completed until early October, just before the opening of the regular season and well after training camps and the exhibition season open in mid-September.
After that, he plans to spend some time with his wife and nine-month old daughter, Ryan. That means he wouldn't be available to an NHL team until November.
"Some teams have said they would like to talk once camps have started, but every single one I've talked to has been interested," says Jackson.
"We're going to go to a team where we have a chance to best succeed. It's not like he's had a year to show everyone he can play."
Kennedy, 29, turned the hockey world upside down in January 1997 after going public with the story of how his junior hockey coach, Graham James, sexually abused him while both were with the Swift Current Broncos.
James has since been convicted and is in prison.
After eight seasons in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins, Kennedy called it quits following the 1996-97 season.
He announced plans to open a ranch for sexually abused children and began his in-line skate across Canada in the spring.
When he passed through Ottawa on June 29, Mayor Jim Watson declared it Sheldon Kennedy Day in the capital.
"He has told me, 'All I want to do is play,' " says Jackson.
"He says he can't wait to get back on the ice, he says all he can think about is scoring goals and he feels like a kid again. He's pumped to play and says he played eight years in the league without being excited about it."
Kennedy has scored 49 goals and 58 assists in 301 NHL games.
His best season was in 1992-93 with Detroit, when he scored 19 goals and added 11 assists.
Recently I had the pleasure of attending a banquet in Edmonton with NHL veteran Sheldon Kennedy. I was inspired by his dedication and commitment to the foundation that bears his name. The Sheldon Kennedy Foundation was established in 1997 by Sheldon Kennedy and his wife, Jana. The goal of the foundation is to raise public awareness about child abuse.
On May 30, Sheldon Kennedy left St. John's, Newfoundland, and began an 8,000-km journey across Canada. The intent of his cross-Canada in-line skate is to raise awareness and understanding of the issue of child abuse, and to raise funds for the construction of Anaphe Ranch, a summer haven for individuals and families coping with the trauma of child abuse. Construction on the ranch, named after the Greek goddess who was the protector of children, will begin in the spring of 1999.
On August 23, Sheldon Kennedy crossed the Saskatchewan border and was welcomed to Alberta by Rob Renner, M.L.A. for Medicine Hat. It was a warm welcome home for Mr. Kennedy, who lives in Calgary with his wife and daughter.
The Government of Alberta is proud to support Sheldon Kennedy and his foundation. On August 25, Family and Social Services Minister, Dr. Lyle Oberg, presented a cheque for $25,000 on behalf of the Government of Alberta to Mr. Kennedy at a luncheon in Brooks, organized by the Brooks Chamber of Commerce. The grant is to assist the foundation in its efforts to enlighten the public on the very real and pervasive issue of child abuse. It is my hope that this grant will help make Anaphe Ranch a reality.
You know, it takes a lot of physical strength to play in the NHL, as Sheldon did. But it takes a lot of inner strength to publicly confront the trauma of the past. That's what Sheldon has done. And the amount of awareness he's raised since his story was told has been phenomenal. Thousands of Canadians, and others worldwide, have been touched and helped by what he's done. The perseverance Sheldon Kennedy has shown throughout his cross-Canada journey is inspiring.
Earlier this year, my wife Colleen and I established the Ralph Klein Charitable Foundation. I am pleased that the proceeds from our golf tournament this fall will go to the Sheldon Kennedy cross Canada skate for abused kids. I encourage you to lend your support, in any way you can, to this remarkable individual who is helping to make a difference in so many lives. I know that Sheldon would appreciate receiving the support and encouragement of his fellow Albertans.
Kennedy Wants to Play Hockey, Not be Part of a Publicity Stunt
Thursday, September 3, 1998
CALGARY (CP) -- NHL teams should sign Sheldon Kennedy for his hockey skills, not his new-found fame, says Calgary Flames general manager Al Coates.
"I'm not surprised teams are interested in looking at Sheldon Kennedy," Coates said Thursday. "I hope they're interested in him for the right reason and they want him as a hockey player and not as a publicity stunt."
Kennedy, who rolled into Calgary on Thursday on his cross-Canada charity skate, said he is itching to return to the ice but refuses to scratch the doors of NHL teams wanting only to capitalize on his notoriety.
"I just want to play hockey and I just need to know where I stand," Kennedy said. "Too many times people tell you one thing and do the next and I don't operate like that."
Kennedy shook up the hockey world in January 1997 after blowing the whistle on his junior hockey coach, Graham James, for sexual abuse while the two were with the Swift Current Broncos.
Coates, who signed Kennedy to play for the Flames from 1994 to 1996, said he has talked to Kennedy's agent about the right-winger returning to Calgary.
"I told his agent Jeff Jackson not to count us out," Coates said. "And whatever the circumstances might be, call us back and we'll look at it."
Jackson said he has talked to six NHL teams about signing his client, but Kennedy can't play hockey until his in-line skate-a-thon ends in mid-October.
"We are taking a wait-and-see attitude with where he would best fit in in October," said Jackson, adding he didn't want to tip his hand by revealing which teams he has talked to. "At this point, I think being patient is probably the most prudent thing to do."
Jackson said he, too, is concerned that an NHL team may want to lure Kennedy for the wrong reasons. "We just want people to be straight," Jackson said. "If they are looking to put people in the building because they signed Sheldon, and that's the sole reason, then he's not going to be interested."
After eight seasons in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, Calgary, and the Detroit Red Wings, Kennedy called it quits following the 1996-97 campaign.
Kennedy is skating across Canada to raise money for a ranch in British Columbia for sexually abused children.
He has raised $2 million of his $15-million goal. Kennedy said the cross-country journey has given him confidence and put him in top physical condition.
"I played the game with no confidence," he said. "I played the game never working out.
"I played probably 100 games out of my 300 without a wink of sleep before the game. The way I lived my life was freaky. Now I want to play hockey and have some fun."
Sheldon Kennedy Throws Support Behind Lowther's Bill
For Immediate Delivery
SEPTEMBER 3, 1998
Calgary - Today in a joint press conference, Sheldon Kennedy gave his public support to Bill C-284, a bill related to sexual offences against children, put forward by Calgary Centre MP Eric Lowther. “I applaud the courage that Sheldon has shown in his efforts to raise awareness about child abuse and his constructive plan to help child abuse victims. He deserves our support,” said Lowther. “It is also admirable to see that he recognises the merits of Bill C-284, which has the potential to become law later this fall.”
Bill C-284 proposes to allow a more complete disclosure of an individual’s criminal record if: 1) the record includes a sexual offence against a child for which a pardon had later been granted, and 2) the individual applies for a position of trust over children. The bill would help children’s organisations ensure that they are not putting children under the care of those who have previously sexually abused children. Members of Parliament will vote on C-284 this fall.
Kennedy shocked the hockey community when he disclosed that he had been sexually abused by his minor hockey league coach. He is currently on an in-line skate journey across Canada to heighten awareness about child abuse and to raise funds for the development of a camp for abused children.
“I am behind any measures that further protect our kids, and I am pleased to see MP Eric Lowther championing Bill C-284 on behalf of all Canadians,” said Kennedy.
“Sheldon knows how important it is to ensure that our children are protected from sexual offenders, who have very troubling rates of recidivism. Bill C-284 takes a common sense, precautionary approach to do just that. I hope that my colleagues in the House will also recognise the importance of this bill and pass it into law later this fall. Our children deserve the added protection that C-284 affords,” Lowther said.
For more information, please contact:
Eric Lowther, M.P.
SHELDON KENNEDY STATEMENT
CALGARY, Sept. 11 /CNW/ - "I was at friend's house with another team member for a BBQ. Later I went to a local bar with friends and left around 2:30 am. On the way back to the hotel we stopped for gas and food. I was excited about the Hummer - we had just gotten it that day. I was excited to drive it home and didn't think I had too much to drink. The Hummer is an extra wide vehicle and it surprised me how much so when we drove it across the bridge. We were informed later that multiple collisions of this nature have occurred at that same location.
"We called the police early Saturday morning, August 29 within hours of the accident and were told to call the investigating officers when they reported back to duty at 9:45 pm. I chose to go in personally to report the accident. I had no idea that the damage was so expensive or extensive. Me and the other team member stood beside the vehicle after we parked it in a vacant lot when a passerby pulled over and offered us a ride. We accepted the ride. It was 3 am and we didn't think much more could be done. The Hummer was in a vacant lot. I realize now that I made a judgement error in not remaining at the scene.
"I am deeply disappointed in my actions in Edmonton and I apologize to my family, my friends, my foundation and the thousands of supporters of my foundation. More importantly, I sincerely apologize to all the Canadians who need me the most - those that have been abused - and I ask for your forgiveness. I am willing to accept all responsibilities for my actions and I realize that in my journey I have been seen as a role model and as a hero. I have never felt comfortable with either of these titles due to my own weaknesses. I do not want my actions to negatively impact the foundation and our mission, and all the kids, families, and abuse victims who can benefit from our journey to stop child abuse.
"I had about seven or eight beers over the course of the evening. The marijuana that was found in the vehicle was mine. I was not drinking while I was driving and I did not have any marijuana that night. I don't see this as a relapse - it's a single incident - and as far as drugs and alcohol are concerned, I've never said that I am anything more than an abuse victim who's trying to make a difference. Many professional therapists I spoke with prior to the skate were concerned about this journey knowing that my own healing is still in progress. I suppose their concerns were valid. I still have a lot more healing to do. People have known my past which I have never lied about or tried to conceal. They've shown that they support my mission and my dreams and I am still not hiding who I am to this day. I take full responsibility for my recent actions in Edmonton and am hopeful that people won't hold these actions against the foundation whose goal is to raise awareness and education for child abuse."
IQALUIT - There are some young people in Iqaluit who think Sheldon Kennedy is a true hero.
They admire the Elkhorn, Manitoba man not only because he is a former NHL hockey player, but also because he is not afraid to talk about how he was sexually abused.
Last Thursday young people from Iqaluit, along with others in communities across the Northwest Territories, spoke with 29-year-old Kennedy via audio and video links from Yellowknife.
In 1996, while playing with the Boston Bruins, Kennedy admitted to being sexually abused by his former junior hockey coach, Graham James, one of the leading junior hockey coaches in Canada, during the course of six years. James pleaded guilty to assaulting Kennedy and one other player and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in January, 1997.
James' conviction made front-page news across Canada and gave rise to demands for tighter screening of coaches and others who are in positions of influence over young people.
Kennedy now hopes his five-month cross-country, in-line skating tour will encourage people to discuss sexual abuse openly.
Karen Dunphy was one of the many young people in Iqaluit who heard Kennedy's message.
"He let me know that people are getting abused," she said. "I didn't know that before."
"It's good what he's doing because he can help people," Joselyn Morrison piped in. "He's bringing it out in the open."
Kennedy is rollerblading across Canada to raise money to build a ranch for children who have been sexually abused. During the talk, he told the youngsters that he used drugs and alcohol to help him forget what happened to him.
"It certainly numbs you," Kennedy told media after the talk, which was kept between the youth and Kennedy.
He told the young people that drugs and alcohol are no escape from problems.
"Drugs and alcohol isn't the right way. You should tell somebody what happened," Kennedy urged.
The youngsters said Kennedy told them that his coach had assaulted him, but he was too afraid to tell his teammates because he thought that they would blame him. He even thought of committing suicide, they said, but he found out later that his teammates may also have been sexually assaulted.
"They didn't tell either," said Elaine Lloyd, who'd also turned out for the talk. "I would feel afraid to tell somebody. People might think you are a liar or trying to get attention if you are lonely."
Craig Dunphy volunteered his time to coordinate Iqaluit's participation in the conference because he believes sexual abuse is a topic that must be talked about in the open.
"I am a survivor myself."
An information brochure on child sexual abuse was prepared in conjunction with the visit. The brochure will build on the work of the Child Sexual Abuse Coalition of the NWT, which has been collecting information, promoting awareness and focusing more attention on child sexual abuse in the NWT.
A sobbing Sheldon Kennedy asked for forgiveness and understanding yesterday in Calgary after admitting he drank eight beers before crashing a Hummer in Edmonton last month. He also admitted to owning marijuana found in the abandoned vehicle. Mr. Kennedy was given a ticket for failing to file an accident report but won't be charged with impaired driving or possession of a narcotic, police said.
(The Ottawa Citizen)