Disgraced former coach Graham James spotted in Mexico

grahamjames.jpgCBC News and The Globe and Mail reporters found pardoned sex offender and former junior hockey coach Graham James living in Mexico. The stomach-turning story is captured here by Greg McArthur.

With dozens of hungry patrons jostling for position at the El Super taco stand, and nuns weaving between double-parked cars, the retired hockey coach carrying a bag of dirty laundry blends neatly into the chaotic street scene.

If Graham James was looking for anonymity, he has found it in this city of six million people, Mexico’s second largest. His slow, deliberate footsteps show no trace of panic – despite the political firestorm he has created in Canada, where it was recently revealed he obtained a behind-closed-doors pardon for hundreds of sexual assaults he committed on two teenage hockey players.

“I’m impressed that you found me,” Mr. James said when approached last week by a team of journalists from The Globe and Mail and CBC, conducting a joint investigation. “But not that I’ve been hiding.”

In April, it was publicly revealed that Mr. James had quietly obtained a pardon from the National Parole Board in 2007. The former junior hockey coach served a 3½-year prison sentence in the late 1990s, after he admitted to sexually assaulting two of his teenaged players more than 300 times.

This is heavy stuff for Pro Hockey Talk, but I’d feel foolish if I ignored a story about one of hockey’s most notorious figures. Discussing shady pardons is, however, outside of my rank but I will say that it’s disgusting that a little power can cause a miscarriage of justice time and time again. Sports coaches, sadly, are often in a position of authority with young, confused people and there times when the worst can happen.

Former NHL great Theo Fleury recently stated that James also sexually assaulted him in his autobiography “Playing with Fire.” (Though it must be noted that Fleury never pressed charges for the alleged claims.) Fleury said that he wasn’t surprised to see his former coach and alleged predator in another country. If there’s a silver lining, the sighting perhaps gave alleged victims such as Fleury a sense of closure. The CBC had Fleury’s reaction.

“He is a shell of his former self, that is for sure,” Fleury said after seeing James on television. “I remember him being a guy that was very confident and very arrogant, and he was none of that.”

Fleury also described seeing his former coach on TV as part of his healing process.

“I knew at some point that I would either have to see him, you know, on television or maybe face-to-face,” he said.

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    Video: P.K. Subban tossed after on-ice outburst toward officials

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    P.K. Subban was given a game misconduct on Friday after an outburst directed at officials in the final minute against the Buffalo Sabres.

    Subban was furious after the puck got caught up in the skates of the linesman in the neutral zone before Evander Kane then picked it up and scored into the open net. That put the Sabres up by two goals with 55 seconds remaining in regulation and ended any hopes of a Montreal comeback.

    Subban had some choice words for officials but his argument ultimately landed him with an early exit from this game. The Habs lost by a final score of 6-4.

    The Sabres scored four straight goals between the first and second periods, chasing Ben Scrivens from the net 1:28 into the second period.

     

    Video: Doan ties Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history

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    Shane Doan on Friday scored his 20th goal of the season, and tied a historical mark for the initial Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise in the process.

    Doan scored in the first period against the Calgary Flames, tying him with Dale Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history with 929.

    Now 39 years old, Doan has spent his entire career with that organization, playing one season in Winnipeg before the organization moved to Phoenix.

    He also joined another impressive list, too.

    Leafs’ Corrado returns to Vancouver with a chip on his shoulder

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    Just as the Vancouver Canucks are once again struggling through injuries and with their depth on defense a constant question mark, Frank Corrado returns to town with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    It’s a quick visit. The Leafs and Canucks do battle on Saturday, with the hosts wearing their famous ‘Flying Skate’ logo from the 1990s.

    But the return of Corrado with a different team provides a juicy storyline in Vancouver.

    The Canucks waived the 22-year-old defenseman in October.

    He was claimed by the Leafs, which ended his time in Vancouver when it previously started with promise and optimism.

    He quickly ascended as a prospect after being selected in the fifth round five years ago. But when training camp rolled around this season, Canucks GM Jim Benning was of the belief that Corrado had been passed in the depth chart by a few other defensemen in the system.

    The move has been criticized in Vancouver because the Canucks lost an asset — a 22-year-old right-shooting defenseman with potential — for nothing.

    Corrado had some interesting things to say about how his time in Vancouver eventually played out, as per Josh Clipperton of the Canadian Press.

    Two examples:

    Corrado has played 10 games for the Leafs this season, with three assists. He made his Leafs debut more than two months after being claimed.

    Video: Gaborik (lower-body) not expected to return after awkward collision

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    The L.A. Kings are expected to be without forward Marian Gaborik for the remainder of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers.

    Gaborik was involved in a collision with Dominic Moore at the Kings’ blue line late in the first period, and L.A. up 2-1.

    Gaborik, 33, hobbled off the ice, favoring his left leg. In 53 games this season, Gaborik has 11 goals and 21 points.