01/04/2016 03:39 EST | Updated 01/04/2016 03:59 EST

Swift Current Mayor Apologizes To Sheldon Kennedy, Other Victims Of Hockey Coach's Abuse

Jeff McIntosh/The Candian Press

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. — Former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy, who was sexually abused by his junior hockey coach while playing in Swift Current, Sask., says he accepts an apology from the city.

Kennedy says he wasn't sitting around waiting for an apology, but he says it needed to happen.

Kennedy revealed 20 years ago that he was abused by Graham James, then coach of the WHL Swift Current Broncos.

Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer has written a statement expressing "sincere and absolute sorrow to the victims of Mr. James and their families.''

On Friday, the city will launch a new initiative for community organizations that will require a criminal background check of adults, along with education on the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

Kennedy says Swift Current is in a position to show great leadership and turn a tragedy into something positive around child protection.

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