Ahkameyimok Podcast with Perry Bellegarde
Best of Ahkameyimok - Overcoming Sexual Abuse in Hockey with Sheldon Kennedy
*** In light of revelations that the NHL Chicago Blackhawks covered up a case of sexual abuse of one it's players by a member of it's coaching staff, we are re-posting this powerful interview with former NHL player and sexual abuse survivor Sheldon Kennedy. This interview originally aired in January, 13th, 2021. ***
***This interview contains subject matters and details that may not be appropriate for young listeners. ***
Sheldon Kennedy is one of Canada's leading campaigners in the fight against child abuse. The retired NHL veteran and founder of the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre joins National Chief Bellegarde to discuss ways in which the pandemic has made child abuse worse, what can be done to improve that, his own history of abuse by his hockey coach as a teenager, and how telling that story gave him the strength to get his own life on track and help others, including First Nations survivors of Residential Schools. And, on a lighter note, Kennedy talks about how winning CTV's Battle of the Blades renewed his love of skating.
Sheldon Kennedy played eight years in the National Hockey League, with the Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins. As a teenager he led the Swift Current Broncos to a Memorial Cup championship, the best team in Junior Hockey. But it was also at Swift Current that Kennedy was sexually abused for years by his coach, Graham James. When Kennedy revealed this abuse publicly towards the end of his pro career, Graham James was convicted and sent to prison. He has since been convicted for the abuse of several more players.
For Kennedy, this marked the start of a life dedicated to supporting and speaking out for sexual abuse survivors. His leadership, including founding the Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary and the Respect Group, saw him being awarded the Order of Canada in 2016.
A big thanks goes out to the Red Dog Singers of Treaty 4 Territory in Saskatchewan for our theme music.
The Ahkameyimok Podcast is produced by David McGuffin of Explore Podcast Productions.