Fleury curious to hear what James has to say

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:42 PM ET

CBC’s Bob McKeown has tracked down convicted sexual predator and former Winnipeg hockey coach Graham James outside the country and confronted him on the controversy surrounding him back in Canada.

James was recently pardoned by the National Parole Board despite being convicted of sexually abusing a teenaged Sheldon Kennedy when he played for James during the 1980s. James has also been accused of sexual abuse by Kennedy’s former teammate and ex-NHL star Theoren Fleury, who filed a formal complaint with Winnipeg police.

The McKeown interview will air on CBC’s The National on Wednesday night.

Fleury said he had no clue what James will say, or why he chose to speak publicly for the first time since Fleury’s book Playing with Fire came out as a starting point to a new complaint of abuse being filed.

“I have no idea (what he’ll say). I’m just curious like everybody else in Canada,” said Fleury, who was coached by James as a young teenager playing junior hockey for the Winnipeg Warriors — a WHL franchise that later moved to Moose Jaw. “Who knows?”

James was last known to be coaching hockey in Spain in 2001.

Fleury’s only guess as to James’ motivation is that he might be in need of money.

Convicted in 1997 of sexual assault after Kennedy came forward, James served jail time and was banned for life from coaching by the Canadian Hockey Association.

He surfaced in Spain, but the now 58-year-old James has been out of the public spotlight for years.

Fleury will watch the interview like people in many households across the country, but he’s more interested in Tuesday’s proceedings on Capital Hill in Ottawa, where legislation will be introduced on preventing predators like James from ever being pardoned. James received a pardon three years ago, a fact that only came to light after Fleury’s book was released in the fall.

“I’m doing fine. I wanted the book to have the biggest impact, and it is,” Fleury said. “What’s happening tomorrow is big — huge — because sexual abuse is the biggest epidemic we have on the planet and for years nobody’s done anything about it. We’ve always swept it under the rug.

“Today, as they say, we have our day in court. It’s perfect.”


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