Keynote Speaker: Sheldon Kennedy

Keynote Speaker: Sheldon Kennedy

Sheldon Kennedy is a former professional ice hockey player for multiple teams in the NHL, including the Calgary Flames, and is now a prominent child advocate. Mr. Kennedy is known for bravely coming forward about the sexual abuse he faced from his coach, Graham James.

Following his post-hockey career, Mr. Kennedy has worked tirelessly to fight against child abuse. Along with his business partner Wayne McNeil, Mr. Kennedy founded the Respect Group Inc., which provides training to thousands of people using messages and tools of empowerment that help individuals involved in amateur sport and education systems prevent bullying, harassment, and abuse.  Prior to this, near the end of his NHL career, Mr. Kennedy roller-bladed across Canada in 1998 to raise funds and awareness for victims of sexual abuse.

Mr. Kennedy embodies our message of “Leading Change”. He has been a vital member in changing how police, child and family services, and health and justice systems work together to better help victims of crime. He has also influenced policy change to improve the handling of child abuse cases. Mr. Kennedy is the lead director of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, which is a first-of-its-kind in Canada, that offers full wrap-around services for victims of child abuse.

For his achievements in child advocacy, Sheldon Kennedy has received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Fraser Valley; an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary; the Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award at the University of Guelph; was named as a Member of the Order of Canada; appointed to the Alberta Order of Excellence; and on April 13, 2013, the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre was renamed as the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.

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