Sexual assault survivor and educator Sheldon Kennedy has made his stance known in the ongoing historic sexual assault cover ups and scandals discovered through Hockey Canada over the past few weeks.
With reference to two multi-player attacks on young females while in hotels at Hockey Canada sanctioned events (2003 and 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships), Kennedy – a former Canadian Hockey League and NHL player himself – has called for new leadership of the country’s top governing body for hockey in Canada.
“The same people with a new plan expecting different results is the definition of insanity,” Kennedy posted in a statement on Twitter. “I call for the resignation of Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith, his leadership team and the board of directors to resign and step down from their positions immediately. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ALREADY.”
The co-founder of Respect Group Inc. – a corporation aimed to empower people to recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination through interactive, online training courses, through harassment prevention training and by inspiring a global culture of respect – is a sexual abuse sufferer through the deceptive tactics of former coach and now notorious criminal Graham James.
“Respect Group agrees that “the surest way to affect behaviour is through education,” the Respect Group commented. “We will continue those pursuits with each and every grassroots hockey organization who, through their own local leadership, have made foundational, evidence-based RESPECT training a mandatory requirement for activity leaders, officials and parents across this country.
“We applaud those decisions and the heavy lifting necessary to make them happen. Respect Group continues to believe, along with our friends in the trenches, that education remains the cornerstone of creating safe and welcoming hockey environments while improving culture, bottom-up, over time.”
Born in Brandon, but raised in Elkhorn, Kennedy 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 James and the Broncos. The nine-year pro has openly documented his struggles stemming from sexual abuse suffered through James and his previous cocaine addiction.
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.
Kennedy has been inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and 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. Back in 1998, he actually rollerbladed across Canada to raise funds and awareness for those suffering the effects of sexual abuse.Kennedy’s work continues to be recognized, as individual awards pile up. He was named to the Order of Hockey in Canada last summer.
The court cases against Hockey Canada continue throughout the week, with Scott Smith and other governing leadership testifying on Hockey Canada’s behalf.