AROUND THE LEAGUE: WEEK THREE

Jason Gregor
October 28 2010 03:49PM

The game many of us grew up playing or watching will once again have to face one of its deepest and darkest secrets now that Graham James is back in Canada. This time around, I hope the hockey world embraces the victims and sets the stage for other victims to come forward because the hockey world will support them too.

THE ARREST

Early Wednesday morning at the Pearson International airport in Toronto, James, the convicted sex offender and former WHL coach and Hockey News man of the year, was arrested by members of the Winnipeg Police Service. On October 13th, Winnipeg police issued a warrant for James' arrest in connection with charges of sexual assault and other life-ruining acts involving three complainants, one of which is former NHLer Theo Fleury.

When the warrant was originally issued I wondered if James would have the guts to ``Man Up`` and do the right thing. He was living in Mexico and had he chose to stay there it would have taken years to extradite him back to Canada. He could have remained in hiding and never faced the music, which based on his past history is what I thought he would do. I applaud him for returning to Canada to face his charges and finally doing the right thing.

Sexual assualt or abuse is still very much a taboo topic in society and maybe even more in hockey. Hockey, and in fact most sports, have always tried to maintain an image of toughness filled with lots of bravado and machismo. Showing weakness was, and sometimes still is, frowned upon. Unfortunately history shows that in hockey and in real life turning a blind eye to allegations or rumours of sexual abuse is the norm.

In 1996, James was arrested and charged with sexual assault against two minors. Former NHLer, Sheldon Kennedy was one of them while the other chose to remain anonymous. James plead guilty in 1997 and was sentanced to three and a half years in jail.At the time of his conviction he admitted to over 350 sexual encounters with the boys.

In 2009, it was revealed that two years earlier James was actually quietly given a pardon by the Justice System. I don't want to focus on how someone could have allowed that to happen, but the Federal Government has since said it would crack down on pardons to avoid similar situations.

The James case will re-open wounds for the victims, but unfortunately many of us prefer not to hear or read about. When James was charged in 1996 many people around him didn't believe it. They thought James, who used to be a teacher, was a great guy.

I wonder if some choose not to believe it, because they'd rather just not deal with it?

It must be very disappointing that many Canadians don't want to deal with this type of abuse and are more apt to look the other way,  And yet the victims, who have already suffered tremendously are forced to find the strength and courage to face their demons head on and in this case in front of the media spotlight.

THEO FLEURY

Theo Fleury has recently released a best selling book about his abuse at the hands of James and has become a spokesperson for sexual abuse.

I had Fleury on my show and asked him to explain why it took him so long to finally be able to talk about his past.

"I really needed to be ready to do this so it would have the biggest impact. I don't think it was in people's best interest to see a guy in front of reporters or talking about it in documentaries who was still broken and still breaking down and upset about what happened to him in his life. I needed to be a position of strength. I needed to be in a position where I had taken back my own power, and I think the honesty in which the book was presented reflected that."

Unfortunately many in the public don't want to hear about sexual abuse cases. We all too often turn a blind eye and the statistics show that there are severe consequences for the victims who come forward - especially males and especially in sports.

All too often people make insensitive comments like, "If he didn't like it he would have stopped it," without thinking that no one in their right mind would want to have their innocence and soul taken away. This not only discourages victims of sexual abuse to come forward, but it also creates a culture of secrecy that allows predators like Graham James to continue to commit their horrific crimes.

I have never been assaulted, so I can't truly understand how it would impact one's life and what they must go through on a day to day basis afterwards. I have however talked with many who have. The saddest part is that in most cases the reaction they receive when the unveil what happened is just as hurtful and damaging as the original abuse.

THE IMPACT ON HOCKEY

It goes without saying that hockey is more than just our national pastime here in Canada.

I don't think there is anything that unifies our nation more than our love of the sport, and that is why the hockey world needs to be front and centre in the James case. Fleury told me that during many of his book signings, many males would come up to him say thank you and then lean in close and whisper to him, "I've been there too man."

How has Fleury's life changed now that he has come forward?

"I'm now a very strong advocate for sexual abuse and sexual violence. There are lots of kids out there who, on a daily basis, are victims to pedophiles that we don't know about. I truly believe that this subject is the biggest epidemic we have on the planet. For years no one wanted to talk about and the trickle down effect that is has on people who have mental illnesses or post tramatic stress disorder is alarming. I think homelessness is a direct by product of abuse and prisons are full of guys who are angry and resentful and they want to get back at society. It is a bigger thing than people can imagine.

"I'm very comfortable now to stand out in front and try to make a difference and challenge the people in Ottawa who make the laws and the judicial system and even you guys in the media.  Nine times out of ten, most media guys don't go after the perpetrator they always go after the weaker, innoncent victims of sexual abuse because it is easier. And that just reflects how completely backwards and upside down the system is.

"Now I don't care what people think about me or feel about me. Through my process I found out who I am as a person and I've found strength, courage and hope. I've realized that when I was uncomfortable at any point in my life, if I had just walked through the fear that there would be huge growth in me. 

"Anybody who is thinking about going through this process I encourage them to do it, because I am such a better person today than I ever was at any other point in my life. Yes there were times when it was difficult and hard, but my entire life has been that way, so it's a matter of facing the challenges and making sure you have the support of family and friends."

A TRAGEDY IN 1986

As I looked into the Graham James case, I came across an incredible article by Gare Joyce.  It was written in 2006, and talked about the connection surrounding the 20-year anniversary of the Swift Current Broncos bus crash that killed Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff and along with it Graham James' original court case.

James was the coach when the Broncos' bus crashed on December 30th, 1986.

Joyce wrote how a small community turned its back on the victims of crash and those who suffered at the hands of James.

There were other lingering questions in Swift Current, questions about the man who coached the Broncos to their championship. Scott Kruger was just the first to air his doubts about Graham James' sexual orientation. Over the years, the Broncos' coach was subject to taunts from opponents and crowds across the WHL. And sometimes James' players were targeted, too. They heard chants of "Graham's bumboy."

Sheldon Kennedy had been the first of the Broncos to hear the chants. He left Swift Current after the championship season and made it to the NHL, first with Detroit, later with Boston. Kennedy had been a promising junior but a disappointment as a pro — he battled injuries and substance abuse. NHL teammates thought it strange that his coach in Swift Current stayed in contact with him and remained unusually involved in his life.

After years of whispers and innuendo, James was arrested in 1996 and charged with sexual assault against minors. Two Swift Current players would testify against him: Kennedy and another whose name is protected by a court order. Kennedy would reveal a pattern of abuse that started when he played for James in age-group hockey in Winnipeg and stretched through his time with the Broncos. And, as Kennedy would describe it, the abuse seemed to be almost in plain sight. It happened in his parents' home, even with his parents in another room. It happened in Centennial Civic Centre, when other people were around the arena. It happened in James' home in Swift Current, when he was supposed to be doing homework with the coach and would show up at his billets' home drunk and incoherent at 5 a.m.

THE RIFT IN SOCIETY

And here lies the fault line that runs through the community.

On one side you have people like Fanner Kruger. "I hate him," she says of James. "I could kill him. It takes a lot of the joy out of what that team did in their championship season. Poor Sheldon. I always wondered what was wrong with him. I knew that he drank a lot when he was with the Broncos. I should have asked questions. Scott saw a red flag and others must have seen it, too."

Fanner knew about the taunts on the ice. She isn't alone in asking, "What if I had done something?"

But on the other side of the fault line, there are those who claim to have been blindsided by the charges against James and his subsequent conviction. The conventional wisdom in hockey holds that no one knows a team better than the trainer — a trainer moves freely between the coach's office and the dressing room and is the confidant of all. Yet Hahn says he was shocked when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police laid charges against James: "I never saw it coming, I didn't see any warning signs at all, and I was around the team more than anybody."

Says Costello: "Graham was different ways with different people. With reporters, he always had time to talk and always tried to help out. He was a very bright man and he was aware how the media could keep his image as an educator."

Like Hahn and Costello, many people in Swift say that they never imagined the coach's sordid secrets. None of them knew Kennedy better than Frank and Colleen McBain. Kennedy and Sakic were the McBains' boarders, yet the couple says there wasn't a hint of trouble. More than that, the McBains still insist that James did many good things. Colleen McBain, who was a guidance counselor at the Swift Current high school, praises James for his work with the team after the bus crash. "Graham did a great job with the boys after the accident," she says. "He conducted himself admirably. He was very strong … professional."

Even in retrospect, the McBains can't see anything strategic or sinister in James' brushing off psychological counseling for the players after the deaths of their four teammates. When it's suggested to them that perhaps James was slamming that door to protect his awful secrets, the McBains say that he was simply following the players' wishes. "The boys wanted it that way," Frank McBain says.

None of this surprises Sheldon Kennedy. The way he sees it, nothing much has changed over the years.

"The idea that Graham James got us through the bus crash is insulting," Kennedy says. "We didn't rally around him. The players rallied. He had nothing to do with it. And he kept the professional help from the team because he didn't want anyone to know he was a sexual predator — keeping out professional help was his idea, not the players'. The idea of keeping the dressing-room door closed came from him.

I urge you to read the entire article here.

A PERSONAL LINK

I have a personal connection to the tragic crash in 1986. My older brother, Colin, and Brent Ruff were best friends. They played minor hockey together and both of them tried out for the under-17 Team Pacific in 1986. They both thought the other one was the better player.
 
My brother made Team Pacific while Ruff was one of the final cuts. The tournament was played over Christmas that year, and my brother felt  very guilty that he made the team and not Ruff. He felt if Ruff had made the team he wouldn't have been on the bus that fateful day. When I read Joyce's article I learned a lot about the crash and the after affects that I was unaware of, which proves that even when we are close to a situation there are still some scenarios that can surprise us.
 
When you read Joyce's piece about the crash and how James didn't allow the kids to speak to a professional so they could properly grieve, it reinforces how many of us revere and trust the decision makers in hockey more than we should at times.
 
Most of us don't know how to deal with death properly,  and clearly many of us don't know how to properly deal with sexual abuse and the victims. But that doesn't mean we can't learn.I think all of us in the hockey world need to pay attention to the new charges against James, because we shouldn't want another young boy/man to endure something similar.
 
It is clear there are substantially more positive role model coaches and management-types in the hockey world than there is men similar to James, but to think that James was an isolated incident is naive. Sometimes we want to blindly trust those in positions of power, especially in hockey when many of us are blinded about the possibilities of stardom.

RAY FERRARO

Former NHLer and current TSN analyst, Ray Ferraro starred as a junior, scoring 108 goals and 192 points one year in Brandon and his son Landon started with the Red Deer Rebels and now plays for Everett in the WHL. Ferraro has experienced the WHL as a player and now a parent, and I asked him what advice he would give to parents who were sending their sons away to follow their hockey dream.
 
"Number one is, pay attention. Pay attention to where your son is going and who he is going to live with and who is going to coach him. My dad didn't know anything about hockey and when I went away to Penticton, the first play I moved away, he came with me. He met my billets, he met the coach. At the time I didn't realize it, but he was doing his research. He wanted to know where I was living, what did my bedroom look like, where was the sleeping quarters for the rest of the house, what was the policy on the road regarding how many kids stayed in a room and who looked after the kids on the road.
 
"You don't have to be a hockey parent; you just have to be a parent. I know that some parents just send their boy away and assume the team is going to take care of their kid. A great onus for the protection of the player is on the team, but at that same time it has to be on the parent. You can't obsolve everything and say 'I thought they (the team) were looking after it.' Whether the kid lives in your house or someone else's house he is still your son and you still have to make sure you have an idea of where he is, where he goes and what is the team policy.
 
"Don't assume, ask. This is your kid and that is the most important thing"
 
It is the responsibility of parents, billets, friends and all of us involved in the game we love to look out for each other and especially the kids.
 
Often people use the term hero or role model when describing hockey players, and in certain cases that is fine, but I think it is time for the culture of hockey, and all of us involved in it, to step to the forefront in fighting sexual abuse.
 
We have yet to accept it, or deal with it properly, in society, but considering most Canadians have some connection to hockey why don't we take a stand. We need to openly support the victims, report the perpetrators and not turn our back or ostracize those who have been assaulted.
 
Hopefully Fleury and the other two complainants will see justice, our legal system will punish James properly and the hockey world will wake up and realize it is time we took a stand against sexual assault or abuse inside the game we call ours. 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#2 BUCK75
October 28 2010, 04:03PM
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stilldrinkingthekoolaid wrote:

This guy(James) is a poster boy for capital punishment

At least he came back. He could have disappeared into some obscure South American country forever.

Now that he is back, they better make an example of him.

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#3 pelhem grenville
October 29 2010, 05:11AM
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piss me off...just spent ten minutes ranting about this excrement james and ONCE AGAIN at the click of a button i POST MY DIATRIBE INTO CYBER SPACE>>> WHAT IS UP WITH THIS SITE?

short of the long of it is this...james will get less time for what he did to fluery cuz he'll plead guilty (again) and he'll be sentenced as a FIRST OFFENDER cuz of the pardon ...he did NOT come back here in some 'man-up' horse manure gesture saying 'he'll face the music'...he has made a sweet deal with the crown (ala carla homolka)and will be sentenced accordingly...and lastly and this is a sore point to mention because i have much respect for our contributors. ...i can NOT believe ANYONE would "APPLAUD" graham james for ANYTHING period

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#4 Greg
October 29 2010, 11:54AM
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Jeremy S. wrote:

No ice girls?... for shame.... don't give into the jealous feminists...

Ironic. Everyone is in a uproar about young boys being sexually violated (rightfully so), but no one has an issue with putting young girls in skimpy outfits in front of thousands of people to be oggled. How is that not also sexually violating a human being?

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#5 RossCreekNation
October 29 2010, 04:44PM
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Greg wrote:

Ironic. Everyone is in a uproar about young boys being sexually violated (rightfully so), but no one has an issue with putting young girls in skimpy outfits in front of thousands of people to be oggled. How is that not also sexually violating a human being?

Be better.

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#7 stilldrinkingthekoolaid
October 28 2010, 03:58PM
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This guy(James) is a poster boy for capital punishment

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#8 Jamie B.
October 28 2010, 04:09PM
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Well-written article, Jason, thank you.

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#9 yegCopywriter
October 28 2010, 04:15PM
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Great article, Gregor. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

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#10 Smokey
October 28 2010, 04:21PM
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I hope that he serves a lengthy term for his actions, albeit I am preparing myself for disappointment. I also hope that Fleury`s story continues to help victims of these assaults to come forward to put guys like James away.

I love the game of hockey, but I have always been hopeful my kids stay away from it, because of the predators that seem to be there. I don`t fault the parents of these kids who get perpetrated on, but I would have troubles with the thoughts that my 14-15 year old would have to move away from home to pursue a dream. I think this is the fundemental problem with junior hockey, that often parents are too far away to protect their kids from people like this.

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#11 chappy
October 28 2010, 04:24PM
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Spot on, Gregor.

Cheers.

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#12 Subversive
October 28 2010, 04:37PM
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Nice article, still amazed that dude was pardoned. Horrible.

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#13 wax for my stick
October 28 2010, 04:52PM
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great read, hope this guy gets what he deserves...or gets beaten within an inch of his life for what he did. its disgusting how people do this kids.

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#14 AussieOil
October 28 2010, 04:55PM
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Great article - very eye opening about ignoring warning signs. I hope that the Jr leagues have some sort of program to deal with warnings signs

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#15 Trent
October 28 2010, 05:00PM
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Good article.

Fleury gets a free pass from way too many people though. He was one of the Calgary Hitmen OWNERS when GRAHAM JAMES was hired. So Theo knowingly put minors at risk. Yes, I know Theo was a victim, but he make a deplorable decision when he was in a position to stop something from happening. Then he calls people out for not doing enough. Well, he didn't do enough. I am glad he is doing something now.

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#16 Senator Theo
October 28 2010, 05:09PM
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I'm most surprised that if he accepted a pardon, knowing about all the other victems he had, that he found it in himself to come back here to face the music.

I'm glad he did, just surprised.

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#17 Milli
October 28 2010, 05:12PM
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anyone got a link to a decent feed?

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#18 ubermiguel
October 28 2010, 05:32PM
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@ Gregor; well written piece.

I hated Theo Fleury as a Calgary Flame. Now I admire him for his courage and strength. He's a real hero.

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#19 RossCreekNation
October 28 2010, 06:32PM
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Good stuff JG.

I actually wrote the James-coached Hitmen asking for a tryout in their 1st or 2nd season as a 16 year old. Lucky for me, I never got a response. That same season, there were allegations that a Leduc born rookie Hitmen player was a James victim.

Although I wasn't fortunate enough to ever play in the Dub, I know that better people than Graham James actually gave me a shot (Rich Preston in Regina & Bryan Maxwell in Lethbridge).

Put this PIG behind bars.

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#20 rubbertrout
October 28 2010, 07:27PM
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stilldrinkingthekoolaid wrote:

This guy(James) is a poster boy for capital punishment

Put him into general population instead and then let nature take its course.

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#21 Chris.
October 28 2010, 07:53PM
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Be prepared to be disappointed in the Canadian Justice System yet again. James has no doubt been in contact with a lawyer is is reasonably confident he won't do signifgant additional time. (Why else would a rat like that come back?)

James' lawyer will probably argue that since all of these offences occured before James was successfully "rehabilitated" additional incarceration would be counter productive.

Criminal sentences for crimes in Canada are served concurrently. At the very least, James will probably get a lot of credit for time already served. I'm already emotionally preparing for the let down.

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#22 Crash
October 28 2010, 08:31PM
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Excellent article, good correction on Ferraro's junior team.

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#23 Mitch
October 28 2010, 08:35PM
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Great article Jason, I have read Theo's book every person should read the book. My personal take on the book is Theo teaches us about life, respect life, have passion for what we do, and most importantly compete everyday that we are on this earth. You don't have to be a hockey player or a hockey fan to follow these simple rules, Theo just happened to be a world class talent at the game of hockey.

It's very important any person who has had this happen get time to tell there story, as we can see this can happen to anyone.

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#24 Oilcruzer
October 28 2010, 08:35PM
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The volunteers of this generation follow a strict conduct. No one on one situations. The adult cannot place themselves between the athlete and the door or exit. Many, many changes coupled with awareness that now replaces ignorance, makes the world a much safer place for our young athletes and similar youth interest organizations.

We must be careful to steer clear of massive paranoia, but more importantly, we must never, EVER, assume that this cannot happen again, lest the futures of other children be needlessly scarred.

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#25 Jeremy S.
October 28 2010, 08:52PM
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No ice girls?... for shame.... don't give into the jealous feminists...

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#26 Ben Dover
October 28 2010, 09:09PM
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Awesome article JG. Your writing skills have improved dramatically over the last couple years. You have the ability to tackle hard-hitting topics with objectivity, empathy and tact not often seen in a "radio man". I know your brother and it's obvious you were all raised right. I love Brownlee articles, which is a major draw to ON for me, but your opinion pieces are a must-read.

This James character is, by all accounts, a horrible person. I met Fleury a few years ago and had nothing to say to him, as I inherently viewed him as an ex-Flame not worthy of conversation. He was still struggling with addiction at the time, and you could actually see pain in his eyes. A friend of mine got to know him and he was f*cked up, even with a stranger. I'm glad he wrote his book, accepted things and is getting on with life.

I hope James gets what he truly deserves, but it will never (and probably won't) be enough. Theo's memories must be horrible and the next year or two will be equally rough on him and the others. There's certainly a lesson to be learned for parents of aspiring, young sports stars living away from home. The quotes from Ferraro are so real and yet so obvious.

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#27 Tyler
October 28 2010, 09:17PM
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James' lawyer will probably argue that since all of these offences occured before James was successfully "rehabilitated" additional incarceration would be counter productive. Criminal sentences for crimes in Canada are served concurrently. At the very least, James will probably get a lot of credit for time already served. I'm already emotionally preparing for the let down.

Assuming that he's guilty, I'm more than a little curious to see how this turns out as well. This is a somewhat unique situation, assuming that all of the charges pre-date the conviction in the Kennedy matter. There are certain things that a court takes into account in sentencing, pursuant to the Criminal Code:

718. The fundamental purpose of sentencing is to contribute, along with crime prevention initiatives, to respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by imposing just sanctions that have one or more of the following objectives:

(a) to denounce unlawful conduct;

(b) to deter the offender and other persons from committing offences;

(c) to separate offenders from society, where necessary;

(d) to assist in rehabilitating offenders;

(e) to provide reparations for harm done to victims or to the community; and

(f) to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, and acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and to the community.

I would assume, for the sake of discussion, that (b), (c) and (d) aren't really issues here. James, as far as we know, hasn't re-offended in the past thirteen years and there's an event that we can point to (the Kennedy conviction) as the reason why - that presumably was an end point of that conduct. To the extent that he can be rehabilitated, I would expect that he has been.

That leaves (a), (e) and (f). I'm genuinely curious to see how this will play out. I don't practice criminal law, so I've only got slightly more knowledge than the average Joe in this area but it strikes me as an unusual problem - guy gets caught and sentenced for some of the offences, keeps his nose clean for 13 years and then more dirty laundry comes to light.

Unless he's just hauled off somewhere and shot, society's also got an interest in him keeping his head down and being a productive citizen - he's not going to get a life sentence for this. It's going to be an awfully difficult balancing act for the judge.

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#28 Maggie the Monkey
October 28 2010, 09:25PM
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Thanks for writing and publishing this article, and also for writing it so well.

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#29 VK63
October 28 2010, 10:03PM
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@Tyler

Sadly you are probably correct. Its slightly disturbing that Theo would gain credibility in his own case against James if a kid came forward from the Hitman days. The irony is obvious, how Theo and Sakic rationalized that hiring without being absolutely dismissive of the kids they were exposing (if in fact they thought James was a predator) is beyond comprehension. By extension that hiring actually undermines Fleurys case or exposes Fleury as a total fraud. They hired him believing he was reformed and thus forgiven or.......?????

In the end it will help book sales, which helps Larry Day (flames this week) and his wife.. (co-author) McLellan Day... and Theo. A pure sceptic would find much to hang ones hat on given the media company they own and the various tentacles of the flames brass that exist there.

Personally I dont think they are that duplicitous and am hopeful that Theo stepping up and talking about his experience will save someone else... in the end thats all that really matters.

A very interesting article about a most puzzling series of events. Good job Jason.

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#30 Mr. Pederson
October 28 2010, 10:30PM
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Great read, Jason. Thanks for writing it. Heavy stuff.

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#31 Reif
October 29 2010, 12:20AM
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Great Article.

Love'd the Joyce piece as well.

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#32 D
October 29 2010, 03:31AM
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Could not stop reading. Great article.

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#33 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 29 2010, 07:04AM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Put him into general population instead and then let nature take its course.

this x1000.

tape a bottle of lube to his forehead, dress him up all pretty, and put him in general population. the end.

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#34 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 29 2010, 07:40AM
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Seriously if he was already charged with over 350 encounters with the first 2, how much jail time should we expect out of 2 more? It's not like this is a repeat offender or anything. I know what he did was bad, but it's as if now it's worse then back in 1997.

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#35 Markus
October 29 2010, 09:05AM
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I think that until he takes a bath with a toaster or eats a shotgun James should not be applauded for anything.

Guys like him are the worst because they can compartmentalize their emotions & give an appearance of a wholesome person in different company, when in fact they are in fact monsters ala Russell Williams

In a perfect world he would not be allowed to see the light of day. He stole from his victims their innocence & has ruined their lives. Sexually & emotionally they are forever messed up; even with the best of help. Sheldon Kennedy & Theo Fleury are courageous people to stand up & tell their stories.

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#36 Conan Oberon
October 29 2010, 09:14AM
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A thoughtful post Mr. Gregor. I have one issue, with this quote:

"In 2009, it was revealed that two years earlier James was actually quietly given a pardon by the Justice System. I don't want to focus on how someone could have allowed that to happen, but the Federal Government has since said it would crack down on pardons to avoid similar situations."

I've heard a lot about cracking down on pardons due to people who we don't like getting them. I'm sorry, but James did his time and has (until he is convicted again) paid his debt to society. I know a couple of really good people who committed acts of indiscretion (not of the horrible type that James did). They paid their debt to society, and a pardon is how we let them move on with their lives.

If a crime is reprehensible (which James' obviously was), we should talk about longer and more severe sentences. But once those sentences have been served, the criminal pardon system must be allowed to kick in.

It's the only way to empower people to rehabilitate and change their ways.

That all said, I hope that they throw the book at Graham James.

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#37 Markus
October 29 2010, 09:16AM
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Seeing his face makes my skin crawl.

I was unfortunate enough to be in the same room as him. I was having a smoke meat sandwich at Schwartz's in Montreal when I saw him walking out.

I lost my appetite and then lost it on him screaming at him inside & then outside on St Laurent. People looked at me like I was a freak. I said "are you people knowledgeable about hockey or just friggen HAB fans!?! That was that diddler Graham James!"

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#38 Chris.
October 29 2010, 09:20AM
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Tyler wrote:

James' lawyer will probably argue that since all of these offences occured before James was successfully "rehabilitated" additional incarceration would be counter productive. Criminal sentences for crimes in Canada are served concurrently. At the very least, James will probably get a lot of credit for time already served. I'm already emotionally preparing for the let down.

Assuming that he's guilty, I'm more than a little curious to see how this turns out as well. This is a somewhat unique situation, assuming that all of the charges pre-date the conviction in the Kennedy matter. There are certain things that a court takes into account in sentencing, pursuant to the Criminal Code:

718. The fundamental purpose of sentencing is to contribute, along with crime prevention initiatives, to respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by imposing just sanctions that have one or more of the following objectives:

(a) to denounce unlawful conduct;

(b) to deter the offender and other persons from committing offences;

(c) to separate offenders from society, where necessary;

(d) to assist in rehabilitating offenders;

(e) to provide reparations for harm done to victims or to the community; and

(f) to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, and acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and to the community.

I would assume, for the sake of discussion, that (b), (c) and (d) aren't really issues here. James, as far as we know, hasn't re-offended in the past thirteen years and there's an event that we can point to (the Kennedy conviction) as the reason why - that presumably was an end point of that conduct. To the extent that he can be rehabilitated, I would expect that he has been.

That leaves (a), (e) and (f). I'm genuinely curious to see how this will play out. I don't practice criminal law, so I've only got slightly more knowledge than the average Joe in this area but it strikes me as an unusual problem - guy gets caught and sentenced for some of the offences, keeps his nose clean for 13 years and then more dirty laundry comes to light.

Unless he's just hauled off somewhere and shot, society's also got an interest in him keeping his head down and being a productive citizen - he's not going to get a life sentence for this. It's going to be an awfully difficult balancing act for the judge.

Yeah. What he said! (Thanks for properly explaining what I was trying to express)

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#39 Rob...
October 29 2010, 09:57AM
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@pelhem grenville

I agree.

Jason, I threw up a little in my mouth reading how you 'applaud' him.

There is an extradition agreement in place between Mexico and Canada. James did nobody a favour but himself by surrendering to authorities. He's a cold calculating manipulative sorry excuse for a human who deserves to die for his crimes. No other punishment short of life in prison, which would punish the tax payers as well as James, will ensure that children remain protected against him and his incurable addiction.

I have no doubt that your heart is in the right place, as has been demonstrated in many articles and on-air comments, but I think you should reconsider your choice of wording in regard to his surrendering himself.

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#40 pelhem grenville
October 29 2010, 10:21AM
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@Markus

Whata great story ...

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#41 oilBELL
October 29 2010, 10:24AM
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"You don't have to be a hockey parent; you just have to be a parent." -Ferraro

Powerful message that should be heard and followed by all parents. Parents want the best for their children, which is a great thing, however they can never forget their main goal of parenting. Great article Gregor! An ugly side of hockey that nobody likes discussion, but a topic that NEEDS to be discussed.

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#42 OttawaOilFan
October 29 2010, 10:38AM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

this x1000.

tape a bottle of lube to his forehead, dress him up all pretty, and put him in general population. the end.

I second this verdict with one caveat ... no lube, no spit. He gets American X style. I've always been a big advocate of putting these kinds of people in general population. As is said in the movie Training Day; let the animals sort themselves out".

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#44 VK63
October 29 2010, 11:17AM
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I know for an absolute fact that there are hockey parents today that would let James have there kids for a shot at the show.(for themselves). For all the good this game brings to this country it is also one of the most revealing platforms for human/parental failings we have.

Vicariously living through their kids to quell some sickness that lives inside them brings out an element of abuse that honestly approaches James himself. But I digress... anyone who spends considerable time in any level of canadian minor hockey knows exactly of what I speak.

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#46 Harlie
October 29 2010, 11:24AM
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This is such a tragic and heartbreaking story especially for the guys that suffered the abuse. My thoughts are with them.

In regards to James', a buddy of mine is from Sask. and his close friend was a GM of a team in Sask that Jame's coached. My buddies' buddy always had an ill uneasy feeling about James and he ended up canning him and he was backlashed in the community and from the Team's board of directors for letting go "of such a special coach".

I applaud my buddie's friend for standing up and doing what he felt was right when his gut was telling him something.

Have a good Friday everyone and a good weekend!!

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#48 Harlie
October 29 2010, 11:24AM
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P.S - if any of you middle aged oldster's out there are thinking of heading out anywhere this weekend or whenever I will heartily recommend On The Rocks (i see they are sponsoring us now, so props to them).

I went out there a couple of Fridays ago. I am 37 and my buddies were all middle 40's. We had a fricken blast! And the crowd was perfect for us as it isn't a teeny bopper hang out and the band was rocking great 70's 80's tunes and the bar got packed.

Also, (we ended up closin the place down) I was happy with the Bouncers and the Staff at OTR. They didn't take themselves too seriously and there was a great vibe in the place. It was my first time "clubbin" in a few years and I had a great time.

So hat tip to Jason for suggesting OTR on his radio show and now I see that ON is bumpin them as well. Good times!!

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#49 Tyler
October 29 2010, 11:58AM
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Jason -

The pardon is more important for work purposes than it is for the purposes of travelling. Countries can decide for themselves what they're going to ask when you seek entry. They don't have to accept a pardon or anything like that. The Americans, for example, will typically ask if you've been arrested.

A pardon doesn't have a ton to do with international travel, unless a country is relying on a criminal record search to prove that you've got a clean record.

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#50 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 29 2010, 12:04PM
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Greg wrote:

Ironic. Everyone is in a uproar about young boys being sexually violated (rightfully so), but no one has an issue with putting young girls in skimpy outfits in front of thousands of people to be oggled. How is that not also sexually violating a human being?

pretty big difference between underage boys and adult girls dont you think?

you dont think there would be an uproar if it were 15 year old girls in skimpy outfits?

~i know it would be rude of me to come right out and call you an idiot, so i will refrain from coming right out and saying it~

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