Sheldon Kennedy

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Sheldon Kennedy
Sheldon Kennedy 2011-12-31.jpg
Born (1969-06-15) June 15, 1969 (age 50)
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for Boston Bruins
Calgary Flames
Detroit Red Wings
Landshut EV
NHL Draft 80th overall, 1988
Detroit Red Wings
Playing career 1989–1999

Sheldon Kennedy CM AOE OM (born June 15, 1969) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. He played for the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames in the National Hockey League (NHL). Kennedy was drafted by the Red Wings in the fourth round of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft while playing with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (WHL). In the WHL, Kennedy helped the Broncos capture the 1989 Memorial Cup, and was named to the tournament all-star team. Kennedy represented Canada internationally at the World Junior Championships in 1988 and 1989. He helped Canada win a gold medal at the 1988 tournament. Kennedy was born in Brandon, Manitoba, but grew up in Elkhorn, Manitoba.

Kennedy is known for going public as a victim of sexual abuse by his coach, Graham James. In 1998, Kennedy roller bladed across Canada to raise awareness and funds for sexual abuse victims. Currently, Kennedy is the Co-Founder of Respect Group, which has trained over 1 million Canadians to recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport organizations, schools and the workplace.

Playing career[edit]


Kennedy started playing junior hockey with the Winnipeg South Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) in 1985.[1] After being noticed by Graham James at a hockey camp, Kennedy joined the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the 1986–87 season.[1] He spent the rest of his WHL career with the Broncos, helping the team capture the 1989 Memorial Cup. For his play during the tournament, Kennedy was named to the Memorial Cup All-Star Team.[2] He was also named to the WHL's Eastern Conference Second All-Star Team.[2] Kennedy along with fellow future NHLer Joe Sakic, was a passenger in the Swift Current Broncos bus crash that occurred in December 1986, killing four members of the team.[3]


Kennedy was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round (80th overall) of the 1988 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft.[2] His first professional season was split between the Red Wings in the NHL and their minor league affiliate Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League (AHL).[1] At the NHL level, Kennedy scored two goals and added seven assists in 20 games.[1][2] Kennedy spent the next four seasons bouncing between the AHL and NHL within the Red Wings organization.[1] The Winnipeg Jets acquired Kennedy from the Red Wings after the 1993–94 season. The NHL lock-out meant that Kennedy did not play for the Jets before being picked up on waivers by the Calgary Flames. Kennedy spent two seasons in Calgary, then the Flames decided not to renew his contract in 1996, shortly after his sexual abuse revelation. He signed as a free agent with the Boston Bruins for the 1996–97 season but also spent time with the Providence Bruins, Boston's AHL affiliate. The 1996–97 season was Kennedy's last campaign in the NHL but he later resurfaced in the 1998–99 season with the Manitoba Moose of the now-defunct International Hockey League. Kennedy also played for EV Landshut of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany during the 1998–99 season.[4]

Child abuse advocacy[edit]

Kennedy devoted his post hockey career to child abuse prevention and education. Along with his business partner, Wayne McNeil, he owns and operates Respect Group Inc. which provides training to millions of people with messages and tools of empowerment to help people involved in amateur sport and education systems prevent bullying, harassment, and abuse.[5]

On June 15, 2012 Kennedy was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Fraser Valley for his work supporting victims of child abuse and promoting education and awareness of the topic. On June 8, 2015 Kennedy was awarded with an Honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, from the University of Calgary for his extraordinary commitment to violence and abuse prevention programs in Canada.[6]

On April 13, 2013 the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre was renamed the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre at a ceremony hosted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The centre provides services to children and their families using a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach.[7] The Centre houses 95 professionals from Calgary Police Services, Alberta Health Services, Child and Family Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Alberta Education and crown prosecutors who work together to assess, treat, and seek justice for physically and sexually abused children.[8] Sheldon Kennedy serves as a Board member.[9]

Kennedy was named as a Member of the Order of Canada on December 26, 2014 for “his courageous leadership in raising awareness of childhood sexual abuse and his continued efforts to prevent abuse in schools, sports and communities.”[10]

Kennedy received the Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award at the University of Guelph, March 25, 2015.[11]

In 2016 Kennedy was appointed to the Alberta Order of Excellence.[12]


A television movie about his life, The Sheldon Kennedy Story, aired on CTV in 1999. Jonathan Scarfe starred as Kennedy. In 2006, he released his autobiography, Why I Didn't Say Anything - The Sheldon Kennedy Story. In the book he revealed that nightmares of James still continue to plague him. He also wrote frankly about his battles with cocaine addiction.[13] The feature-length documentary Swift Current, released in 2016, details Kennedy's life from abuse to advocacy.[14]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Junior hockey[edit]

Award Year
WHL East Second All-Star Team 1989[4]
Memorial Cup Tournament All-Star Team 1989[4]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1984–85 Moose Jaw Warriors WHL 16 0 0 0 2
1985-86 Winnipeg South Blues MJHL 43 37 38 75 103
1986–87 Swift Current Broncos WHL 49 23 41 64 43 4 0 3 3 4
1987–88 Swift Current Broncos WHL 59 53 64 117 45 10 8 9 17 12
1988–89 Swift Current Broncos WHL 51 58 48 106 92 12 9 15 24 22
1989–90 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 26 11 15 26 35
1989–90 Detroit Red Wings NHL 20 2 7 9 10
1990–91 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 11 1 3 4 8
1990–91 Detroit Red Wings NHL 7 1 0 1 12
1991–92 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 46 25 24 49 56 15 5 9 14 12
1991–92 Detroit Red Wings NHL 27 3 8 11 24
1992–93 Detroit Red Wings NHL 68 19 11 30 46 7 1 1 2 2
1993–94 Detroit Red Wings NHL 61 6 7 13 30 7 1 2 3 0
1994–95 Calgary Flames NHL 30 7 8 15 45 7 3 1 4 16
1995–96 Calgary Flames NHL 41 3 7 10 36 3 1 0 1 2
1995–96 Saint John Flames AHL 3 4 0 4 8
1996–97 Providence Bruins AHL 3 0 1 1 2
1996–97 Boston Bruins NHL 56 8 10 18 30
1998–99 Manitoba Moose IHL 24 7 7 14 14
1998–99 Landshut EV DEL 13 0 3 3 0
NHL totals 310 49 58 107 233 24 6 4 10 20


  1. ^ a b c d e "Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Sheldon Kennedy". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
  2. ^ a b c d "Sheldon Kennedy". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
  3. ^ "Memorial unveiled on 30th anniversary of crash that killed 4 Swift Current hockey players". CBC News. December 30, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Sheldon Kennedy player profile". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
  5. ^ "Sheldon Kennedy to receive honorary degree from UFV - UFV Today". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  6. ^ Herald, The Calgary. "Former NHL star bares soul for others". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  7. ^ "Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  8. ^ "Breaking down bureaucratic hurdles to create a safe haven for abused children". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  9. ^ Alberta, Government. "Child victims of sexual abuse receive additional counselling services |". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  10. ^ General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Eight community leaders to receive Alberta's highest honour". Government of Alberta. Government of Alberta. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  13. ^ Bradford, Keith (2009-10-09). "Fleury's admission brings back memories for Kennedy". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
  14. ^ Rofé, Joshua (2016-12-02), Swift Current, Stephen Harper, Sheldon Kennedy, Lanny McDonald, retrieved 2018-04-30

External links[edit]