This past week, the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2020. Alongside one team and seven other prominent figures in the Manitoba sporting scene, Elkhorn’s Sheldon Kennedy received the nod.
“I am very proud to be entering Manitoba Sports Hall of fame with all the inductees this year and past years,” Kennedy tweeted Wednesday, following the announcement from Sport Manitoba. “Thank you for acknowledging the important work we do.”
An important piece of Sport Manitoba, the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame was designed to provide an outlet to the community in displaying the ‘history and heritage of sport excellence in Manitoba’. A not-for-profit organization situated in Winnipeg, Sport Manitoba is responsible for the operation of all organized, amateur/minor sport within the province, and it awards a hall of fame class annually. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no induction ceremony in 2020.
“As we announce the names of these deserving inductees who will forever be a part of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, we are grateful that these athletes, builders and teams will inspire and motivate generations for years to come,” said Jeff Hnatiuk, President and CEO of Sport Manitoba in a press release. “We are excited to be celebrating their extraordinary accomplishments and contributions to sport in our province. Congratulations to the inductee class of 2020!”
Those entering the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2020 are:
- Marilyn Fraser (Builder) – Athletics
- Baxter Humby (Athlete) – Muay Thai/Kickboxing
- Sheldon Kennedy (Athlete/Builder) – Hockey/Multi-Sport
- Ruth Klassen (Athlete) – Volleyball
- Ralph Lyndon (Athlete) – Multi-Sport
- Paul Robson (Builder) – Multi-Sport
- Jennifer Saunders (Athlete) – Racquetball
- Ed Werenich (Athlete) – Curling
- 1996/1997 University of Manitoba Bisons (Team) – Basketball
Kennedy, 51, is a former NHL player who spent time with the Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins, following a highly-documented WHL career in Swift Current playing under Graham James and the Broncos. The nine-year pro has openly documented his struggles stemming from sexual abuse suffered through Graham James and his previous cocaine addiction.
Born in Brandon, but raised in Elkhorn, Kennedy put up 134 goals, 287 points and 182 penalty minutes in 175 regular season WHL games, before adding another 17 goals and 44 points in 26 postseason games for Swift Current between 1986 and 1989. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound forward served as the Broncos’ captain in his final season after being selected by the Red Wings 80th overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft the previous summer.
Now alongside company consisting of names such as Billy Mosienko, Fred Shero and Dale Hawerchuk, Kennedy has earned his place through his advocation of respect in sports. He co-founded Respect Group Inc. and has helped ensure proper educational programming is in place for various athletes across the country. Back in 1998, Kennedy actually rollerbladed across Canada to raise funds and awareness for those suffering the effects sexual abuse.
Following his induction into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, Kennedy was subsequently awarded with the 2020 Olds College Honorary Degree for his ‘significant contributions to the prevention of bullying and abuse’. Although being raised in Manitoba, Kennedy worked on plenty of projects in Canada’s west, while living in Alberta. His work continues to be recognized, as individual awards pile up.
1988 – World Junior Hockey Championship Gold Medalist
1989 – Memorial Cup Champion and Tournament All-Star
2014 – Invested as Member of the Order of Canada
2015 – Inducted to the Order of Manitoba
2016 – Appointed to the Alberta Order of Excellence
2018 – Named a Recipient of the Hockey Canada Order of Merit
2020 – Named an Honouree of the Order of Hockey in Canada
2020 – WHL Governors Award
2020 – Class of 2020 Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame
2020 – 2020 Olds College Honorary Degree