Former Red Wings winger Sheldon Kennedy was among 182 Canadians who received a Diamond Jubilee Medal during a ceremony at the University of Calgary on Tuesday.
Kennedy, who was a fourth-round pick of the Wings in 1988, received the medal from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his outstanding contributions to his communities and country.
“It is a great pleasure to pay tribute today to Albertans who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities,” said Harper, on the prime minister's website. “These medals, which commemorate the extraordinary service of Her Majesty the Queen to Canada, are a fitting tribute to those who have given so much of themselves to this province.”
In addition to being a symbol of their remarkable achievements, the Diamond Jubilee Medal is also a celebration of Queen Elizeabeth II’s own service and devotion to our great country for 60 years on the throne.
Kennedy has been an outspoken champion for the rights of sexual abuse victims throughout North America. Kennedy has been an advocate for victims since he came forward in the late 1990s about his own abuse by a former Canadian junior hockey coach.
The medal recognizes Canadians from all walks of life who have made significant contributions to Canada or whose achievements abroad have brought credit to Canada. A total of 60,000 medals will be given to Canadians throughout the year with presentations scheduled for several events, as well as a host of community-based activities across Canada.
In 2006, Kennedy – who scored 49 goals in parts of five seasons with the Red Wings – wrote his autobiography, “Why I Didn’t Say Anything”, where he acknowledged former teammate Bob Probert for his support and friendship.
“Probie, I love you, man, you helped me a lot as I stumbled through life,” write Kennedy. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have played and lived with you, and I am proud to call you a friend.”