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Kennedy inducted into two halls of fame this fall

The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame honour also recognizes his success as an athlete
Sheldon Kennedy speaks at the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame ceremony on Nov. 4.
While Sheldon Kennedy was recently honoured by two prestigious sports halls of fame in this country, the Elkhorn product said the recognition is not about him.
The former National Hockey League player was inducted last week into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame as a builder and athlete at a Nov. 4 ceremony. On Oct. 3, Kennedy received the Order of Sport award and was inducted into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame as a builder. The honours recognize the sexual assault survivor’s more than 20 years of advocacy and fighting for the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment in sports. In both cases, the honours were announced in 2020, but the ceremonies were postponed until this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whenever I receive an honour like this, I don’t really look at it as just ‘Sheldon,’” Kennedy said in an interview on the night of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame ceremony. “I look at it as a really good representation of the issues I represent. For ‘Sheldon’ to be recognized, that means the issues that I represent have been recognized. For a long time and for many, many years, these issues would never been acknowledged at this level. To me, that means we’ve come a long way.
“There have been many, many, many people who have been pulling on the rope and that have helped. My family, the Jeff Hnatiuks of the world - who was the CEO of Sport Manitoba for years, friends who helped ‘Sheldon’ in their own way, these are the people I am accepting this award for.”
Kennedy said being inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame was a “huge honour” for many reasons. He said it has a lot of meaning to be honoured in his home province and noted that his whole family lives in Manitoba and he visits often.
“Not just that, but Sport Manitoba was the first province to implement a province wide mandatory training for all coaches in all sports around abuse, bullying, harassment, discrimination – Respect in Sport training – and that was 17 years ago.
“That was a very bold move on their part and really led the way for other organizations across the country to follow.”
Kennedy co-founded the Respect Group. Partnering with various leading organizations in such fields as curriculum and e-learning platforms, the Respect Group developed the Respect in Sport program and others.
The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame honour also recognizes his success as an athlete as well as an advocate. In 1989, he captained the Swift Current Broncos to a national major junior Memorial Cup championship. Kennedy helped Team Canada win a World Junior gold medal in 1988. That same year he was tabbed 80th overall in National Hockey League Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. His nine-year pro career included winning a 1992 Calder Cup championship with the Adirondack Red Wings, playing more than 300 NHL games, and suiting up for his home province’s Manitoba Moose.
Kennedy, who was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2014, was one of 11 inductees this year for the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Those recognized included golfer Lorie Kane, former two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, and Willie O'Ree, the first black player in the NHL, to just name a few.
“I accept that honour on behalf of all those who pulled the rope to make a societal shift that we’ve seen on these issues – abuse, bullying, harassment – over the 24 years that we’ve been doing this work,” Kennedy said.