Sheldon Kennedy is best known for his time as an NHL player with the Detroit Red Wings and Calgary Flames in the late 80s and mid 90’s. During his hockey career, he battled other players on the ice but these days he is fighting a different battle. Kennedy was at the Lethbridge College today sharing his vision of how to eliminate bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination. Kennedy is also known for coming forward and saying that his former hockey coach Graham James sexually abused him.
“All I knew is that if I didn’t deal with it and try to work through it to get better. It was always going to impact my life in a very negative way. My goal is to be the best father and person I can be. Not only for my family, but in the community. That takes a consistent work on my part on a daily basis to be better. I think one thing we’ve learned about the impact of trauma from people who have been hurt in many different ways is that the impact is consistent, and it’s real,” says Kennedy.
Kennedy has a business called Respect Group that was started in 2004. Training for sports leaders was started across the country, and hockey was one of the early sports groups that were required to take the training.
“With volunteer coaches we’ve learned that we had many of them come to us and say we need this type of training in the workplace. We created a Respect in the Workplace training with the same concept of making good people better. Empower the bystander. Break down these issues that we try to educate on within respect, abuse, bullying, harassment, and all forms of discrimination. We break them down to the lowest common denominator and find a language around them that eliminates the fear that most of these issues come with,” states Kennedy.
Kennedy adds that the whole goal of the company is to encourage confidence and create a language and platform for conversation to happen within an organization.
Kennedy is an Order of Canada recipient, which recognizes outstanding dedication to the community and nation of Canada.