January 16, 2016 9:00 am
Updated: January 18, 2016 2:01 am

A healing homecoming: Sheldon Kennedy returns to Swift Current


REGINA – Sheldon Kennedy’s been back to Swift Current before, but this return represents a new beginning of sorts.

The former NHLer took Global News for a tour through the city where he was abused by former Swift Current Broncos’ coach Graham James as a teen.

When I come to this town, why do I get riddled with anxiety?”

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The drive around town brought up some happy memories, like winning the 1989 Memorial Cup.  But the reality is, most of his memories in Speedy Creek are haunted.

Turning tragedy into opportunity

Swift Current is often known to outsiders as the place where disgraced coach Graham James sexually assaulted numerous young boys playing hockey for him.

The mayor of Swift Current, Jerrod Schafer, issued an apology to all of James’ victims but wanted to do more than just put pen to paper.

“It should have been the best years of their lives but unfortunately it was a nightmare.” – Jerrod Schafer, Swift Current Mayor

Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer poses for his photo to be taken with Sheldon Kennedy when he was a kid.

Adrian Raaber / Global News

Working side-by-side with Kennedy, Schaffer launched a first-of-its-kind child protective initiative in the city called ‘Safe Places.’

The program requires adults working with kids to undergo a criminal record check and specialized youth training.

WATCH BELOW: Raw video of Sheldon Kennedy driving through Swift Current.  He takes us outside Graham James’ former apartment and shares his feelings on the shift in attitudes he’s seeing in the city that 30 years ago changed his life.

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