President and CEO of Hockey Canada Bob Nicholson comments on the recent guilty plea from former junior hockey coach Graham James. On December 7, 2011, James plead guilty to sexually assaulting two of the players he coached in the 1980s and early '90s, including former NHL star Theoren Fleury. James already served almost two years in jail in the late 1990s for assaulting three young hockey players, including Sheldon Kennedy, who also played in the NHL.
In this clip, Bob talks about...
His feelings on the guilty plea
GS: How did you feel about the guilty plea?
BN: Well, you know what, I've been involved in that right from the start with Sheldon Kennedy. What Sheldon has done to help this game, those are things that are in our game, but they're in society, and as a parent, you have to make sure that you really understand the situation you're putting your son or your daughter.
Changing the organization to protect kids
GS: You know, when James got the lifetime ban - was it 1997 - how did you change the organization to protect kids?
BN: You know, I'm really proud of the organization. We put a lot of safety programs in place and they're still there today, and I go back to Sheldon Kennedy, he was a big part of that. He speaks in those programs, and, we're going to try and make sure that every player, every parent goes through those programs so that they're really careful where they put their son and their daughter as they play this great game.
Changing hiring practices
GS: Have you changed your hiring practices for coaches?
BN: Yeah, we have. You know, there's a lot of security checks around it all, and hopefully nobody is slipping through the cracks, and we have to continue to work at that everyday. And, you know, we get a lot of the brunt of it because we're hockey. But it's everywhere in our society, and everyone has to work on it. But when you have people like Sheldon and Theo out there speaking about it now, that helps us, and hopefully, we'll remove that from our game in the future.