CALGARY — Former NHL player and abuse survivor Sheldon Kennedy is removing his name from the Calgary child advocacy centre he founded.
He says in a statement that the decision comes with some sadness, a great sense of relief and no regrets.
Kennedy says having his name on the building means personal responsibility for its day-to-day operation and looking after front-line workers, donors, volunteers and victims.
He says it has been rewarding work since he first pitched the centre in 2010, but it has taken a toll.
Kennedy says he needs to take care of his mental health and find balance in his life.
He says he’ll now focus on his family and on the Respect Group, a company he co-founded aimed at preventing bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.
“Today, I am healthy and excited about my next chapter. I will continue the crusade, but with greater balance. I am also comforted to know that the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre and our community are ready to carry the torch,” Kennedy said in a statement Tuesday.
“It has become clear that I will not be able to achieve the critical balance I need in my life without taking my name off the centre. Furthermore, our community will never fully own the issues with my name still on it. The time has come and the future is bright.”
Kennedy declined to comment further.
Kennedy was among the first to speak out about sexual abuse he suffered from coach Graham James. James was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for abusing Kennedy and another young player.
James later pleaded guilty to repeatedly abusing other players including retired NHL star Theo Fleury and Fleury’s cousin, Todd Holt, when they played for him in the Western Hockey League in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
The Canadian Press