Sheldon Kennedy played more than 300 regular season games in the National Hockey League, but it’s his work as an advocate for victims of child abuse that has earned him the Order of Canada.
Kennedy became a recipient “For his courageous leadership in raising awareness of childhood sexual abuse and his continued efforts to prevent abuse in schools, sports and communities,” according to an online document releasing the names of the 95 newest recipients on Boxing Day.
Kennedy spent time with the Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins, from the 1989-90 season to the 1996-97 season. However, during his time in junior hockey, Kennedy was a victim of sexual abuse from his coach, Graham James, who, in February of 2013, had his prison sentence extended from two years to five years for sexually assaulting two of his former players, including another former NHLer Theoren Fleury.
“For me, I’m not doing this work to win awards for Sheldon Kennedy. I’m doing this work because I understand the damage that this crime has on our kids,” said Kennedy, as per CTV News. “And it’s killing our kids.”