More victims in Graham James probe: Hotstove
Former NHLer Theo Fleury's criminal complaint against former junior coach and convicted sex offender Graham James has reportedly been delayed because other alleged abuse victims have come forward, Calgary Sun writer Eric Francis said on Hockey Night in Canada's Hotstove segment Saturday night.
"A source close to the investigation tells me the reason it's taking so long is that other alleged victims have come forward to make similar filings with police," explained Francis. "I'm told that in about a month this will all come to a head and it'll obviously be a big story."
Fleury released Playing with Fire in 2009 — a book in which the former Calgary Flames star said he was repeatedly sexually assaulted as a teenager by James. Fleury then went to police in Winnipeg last January and filed a criminal complaint against James in the hope that it would lead to the new case.
But Fleury was critical of the justice system last month, stating the wheels of justice were turning too slowly.
"He showed some frustration with the fact that he lodged his complaint in January and I think he thought that there would be a much swifter conclusion to the investigation," Francis told CBCSports.ca.
"However, the police in Winnipeg have not been very forthcoming with him, in his eyes, as to how the investigation is coming along. So I just think he's wondering where it's all at and why there hasn't been a resolution early."
James, a high-profile coach in Western Canada in the 1980s and 1990s, was convicted of sexually assaulting another former NHL player, Sheldon Kennedy, along with an unidentified player. He was sentenced to 3½ years in federal prison.
James received a pardon in 2007, which drew national outrage, and was last reported living in Guadalajara, Mexico.
"That's mind-boggling in itself," Fleury said in September of the delay. "It's just typical of the system. The system is so flawed and so bizarre and so out there. This is as simple as common sense."
More Hotstove news
It's no secret the Calgary Flames had a lousy season last year, and were forced to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs from home.
What may surprise many is that Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter and his brother, Flames coach Brent Sutter, weren't on speaking terms during parts of the season.
"I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that Darryl for years was the coach of this franchise, and it's harder for guys who then move up to be in general manager positions to distance themselves from the dressing room," confirmed Francis. "It's Brent's dressing room and I think he feels that way."
"Generally speaking it's believed that Darryl has run a dictatorship [according to] people inside the organization who would never put their name to it," said Francis. "Darryl has made all the decisions unilaterally, and I think in today's NHL, if you're going to have success, you need to have communication with everybody involved to make sure they're working together."
Francis said Darryl's decision to bring back Olli Jokinen in the off-season caught many in the organization off-guard.
And he said Calgary president and CEO Ken King brought in former Lightning GM Jay Feaster to provide, in part, a buffer between the two feuding brothers.
"One of the things they did in the off-season that makes the future look a lot better in Calgary is they hired Jay Feaster," said Francis.
"It's worked out quite well. There wasn't a lot of communication between the two brothers, but this year — thanks in part to Feaster — there's just a general belief that you're going to have to communicate if you're going to get anything solved."
Francis expects wholesale changes if the Flames — who went undefeated in the pre-season but suffered a 4-0 loss in their season opener against their provincial rivals from Edmonton — don't make the post-season this year.