Player demands apology from James

ROSS ROMANIUK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:38 AM ET

A former junior hockey player once coached by Graham James wants the convicted pedophile to apologize for sexually assaulting two other players — and for allegedly doing the same to others.

“He never actually apologized and never actually admitted that he was a pedophile, or that he did anything wrong,” said Paul Buchanan, who spoke to the Sun after new charges had been laid against his former coach. “I don’t want him to suffer any more — just to apologize and admit that he ruined a lot of people’s lives.”

Buchanan, 46, was not sexually abused by James, but believes his former coach had attempted to “groom” him as a potential victim during his playing days with the Winnipeg South Blues in the early 1980s.

“I could just sort of see what was happening behind the scenes, and didn’t like it. The control ... I didn’t know what he would do if you agreed to be his friend,” said Buchanan, a Winnipeg computer engineer. “I would always say, ‘I’m busy,’ or, ‘I don’t have time to hang out with you,’ or that sort of thing.”

Police did not comment on the specific new charges. However, a Manitoba court document shows James faces a total of nine new charges involving three of his former junior players — including retired NHL star Theoren Fleury. A court order prohibits publication of the names of the other two victims.

Buchanan said that though he had “hated” James at one time, he now just wants him to take responsibility for what he did to “ruin” boys or young men under his mentorship.

“I’m not really angry at Graham James at all,” he said. “If Graham James would have just apologized back in 1996 or ’97, no one would be pressing any more charges.

“There’s not any punishment that is strong enough for someone who won’t admit that they did anything wrong. I’m not upset with him. I hated him, but that was only because ... he was manipulative, and I now know what he did to these other kids.”

In addition to the Blues, James coached the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors and Swift Current Broncos.

ross.romaniuk@sunmedia.ca


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