Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in Calgary today that a child advocacy centre has been renamed after former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, who is known for his advocacy work with victims of child abuse.  

The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, formerly called the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre, is a not-for-profit organization located on the University of Calgary campus that helps victims of child abuse.

"Our efforts to eliminate child abuse are being informed by brave people like Sheldon Kennedy, who had the courage to come forward with his own story, and who now works tirelessly to help prevent child abuse," said the prime minister in a release.

"This centre is a fitting tribute to his efforts, his dedication, his drive and his depth of character."

Kennedy was emotional as he thanked Harper during the announcement.

"I applaud you for understanding that our justice system had not taking enough interest in the rights and needs of victims of crime," he said.

Kennedy was abused by his coach during his junior hockey career and received accolades for speaking out about his abuse and working to end the negative stigma surrounding abuse victims.

He went on to co-found an organization called the Respect Group, which has created a range of programs to combat bullying and abuse in sports organizations, schools and workplaces.

Kennedy is a vocal supporter of the Harper government's justice initiatives to offer more services for, and strengthen the rights of, victims in the criminal justice system.

Kennedy, who briefly played for the Calgary Flames in the 1990s, makes public and media appearances across Canada and regularly expresses his support for the Harper government's criminal justice agenda.