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Success, according to Theo Fleury

Stanley Cup champion turned healing motivator addresses UofGH graduates following conferral of honorary degree

“I’ve got a pretty good imagination.  But never did I think I would be in an auditorium of academics, honouring me for my work in spirituality and healing,” begins Theo Fleury.

The hockey star continues in his trademark manner:  “Given where I’ve been – that this is happening is an example of a f-ing miracle.”

Where he’s been has been well reported.  In publishing his book, Playing with Fire, Fleury confirmed rumours of his childhood sexual abuse.  He documented it all – harrowing details of being abused by his junior coach, Graham James, his troubled home life, his distress over losing his hockey career, his addiction to drugs and alcohol, his rise and fall as an NHL star, and his fear of coming forward with the truth.

Theo Fleury speaking at University of Guelph-Humber Convocation 2014.

“What I represent is the one in three Canadians who have experienced childhood trauma.  I feel like I have a clear purpose.”

“I’m now dedicating my life to helping people get the help they need.”

Fleury began the “Victor Walk” last year – a movement bringing together thousands of Canadians in raising awareness of childhood sexual abuse.  He’s working with members of parliament to create policy that will both protect victims and help with their recovery.

“All of you graduating today will have amazing plans and hopes.  But who knows where you’ll end up.  There were certainly no straight lines on my highway,” he says.

And from a Stanley Cup champion, Olympic gold medalist, World Junior champion, and self-described victor over abuse and addiction and now healing motivator, Fleury offers UofGH graduates the key to success:

“It’s our relationships that matter for absolutely everything.  For us to treat each other with dignity and compassion, for us to create win-win outcomes in business, for us to win Stanley Cups as a team, and for us to heal when life happens.”

“It is healthy relationships that remind us not to carry shame.  Not to hurt each other to begin with.  Surround yourselves consciously with people who help bring out the best in you – and you in them.”

“If you really want to be successful – and this applies to all areas of your life.  Believe me.  Pay attention to, and nurture, your relationships.  This will get you anywhere and everywhere.”

In recognition of his commitment to enhancing the psychological health and wellness of Canadians, and for his honesty, resiliency and ongoing humanitarian efforts, Theoren Fleury was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, at the University of Guelph-Humber’s convocation ceremonies held in June, 2014.