Former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy has decided to remove his name from the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre.
In a statement that came out at noon on Tuesday, Kennedy said the decision was a personal one.
“I now understand that my name on the building really meant a personal responsibility for the day-to-day practice, the wellness of our front-line workers, the satisfaction of our donors and volunteers and the proper treatment of the victims we serve,” he said in a prepared statement.
“This has been a very rewarding 8 years of my life and, at the same time, it has taken its toll.”
Kennedy said he preaches to others that they need to take care of their own mental health first, so he’s now taking his own advice.
“It has become clear that I will not be able to achieve the critical balance I need in my life without taking my name off the Centre. Furthermore, our community will never fully own the issues with my name still on it. The time has come and the future is bright.”
According to the release, it was Kennedy who pitched the idea of a child advocacy centre to the chief of the Calgary Police Service in 2010. The centre first opened in 2012, and was renamed the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in 2013.
In the 1990s, Kennedy went public with his own story of suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a hockey coach.
That coach, Graham James, was sentenced to a total of five and a half years in prison after being found guilty of sexual abuse charges involving more than 350 players.
Kennedy said he now wants to devote more attention to his family. Kennedy has a daughter in University and a five-month-old son.
In his statement, Kennedy thanks the front line workers who are helping children who have been the victims of sexual abuse.
He said he will continue his crusade for victims’ rights, but with more balance in his own life.