November 20, 2015 7:43 pm
Updated: November 23, 2015 6:20 am

Sheldon Kennedy documentary motivates change within Swift Current

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REGINA – A documentary is garnering buzz about an ugly truth in southern Saskatchewan.

The sexual abuse inflicted by former Swift Current Broncos head coach Graham James is the subject of a new documentary, titled Swift Current. The story is told through the experiences of former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy.

“Graham James came in to Swift Current and inflicted great terror,” said current Mayor Jerrod Schafer.  “He left a black mark on the community.”

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But both the film and community are turning what has been a stain on the city into an opportunity for change.

Schafer and longtime friend Kennedy continue their work to pull the community back together and are rolling out new initiatives, including a child advocacy centre to protect youth.

“We want to raise the bar in Swift Current,” said Schafer.

There have been a number of high-profile cases and accusations against James over the years.  In the most recent case, he pled guilty in June to sexual assault against a player he coached with the Broncos in the early 1990’s.

“I guess I feel a little shame when I hear it called ‘Swift Current,” but the reality is it happened here,” said Swift Current Broncos governor, Al Stewart.  “So, we have to use everything that’s happened in the past to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.”

Local reporter, Candace Woodside, said she had to tread carefully when she moved to Swift Current and cover stories on James and his victims.

Although, Woodside was no stranger to the story having grown up in James’ hometown in PEI.

“It’s such a small place that we claim anyone, who’s done anything, anywhere. But he’s the one person that has done anything of note that we don’t claim.”

It’s a part of the city’s history that most people in Swift Current would like to forget, but instead are using as a catalyst for change.

You can watch the documentary Swift Current on Global, Saturday beginning at 8:00 p.m.

 

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