Former NHL All-Star, Stanley Cup winner and Olympic Gold Medalist Theo Fleury featured in the documentary VICTOR WALK, will receive the 2016 Humanitarian Award at the Whistler Film Festival for his commitment to making a difference. Fleury was recently in the news when the coach who sexually molested him, and many other young hockey players, was let out of prison after a relatively short incarceration for his pedophiliac crimes. He is attending the Whistler Film Festival with the Canadian premiere of Michael David Lynch’s VICTOR WALK, a moving documentary that chronicles his ten day 400 kilometer walk from Toronto to Ottawa along Highway 7 in May 2013, to draw attention to the light sentences meted out to convicted pedophiles in Canada. Fleury’s walk brought attention to the plague of child sexual abuse, promoted healing amongst the survivors and aimed to lobby for stiffer laws against predators. WFF is honored to shine a spotlight on Fleury and this important issue as part of its Signature Series. Join Fleury, director Michael David Lynch and host Jim Gordon for what promises to be an impassioned discussion about the issues surrounding this film on December 3 at 8:00pm at Maury Young Arts Centre in Whistler.
“Theo Fleury is a true hero for being brave enough to share his story and advocate for victims of sexual abuse and change,” said WFF Director of Programming, Paul Gratton. ”VICTOR WALK is a testament to his story, and given recent events that make Theo Fleury’s concerns about inadequate legal punishment all too relevant, we expect this film to reignite the debate.”
The statistics are horrific: one out of five males and one out of three females in Canada will be sexually molested before they are adults, and very few people ever report the crime. The response that Fleury and Lynch captured along the journey captured in VICTOR WALK is truly astounding. Every step of the way, hockey fans come out to show their support for the 1989 Stanley Cup winner (with the Calgary Flames). Many victims, who have kept their secrets to themselves out of shame or reluctance, were emboldened to share their experiences with the emphatic hockey player. Fleury really believes that talking about it is the first step, not only to personal healing, but to changing the laws of the country so that child abuse is no longer treated as a minor crime.
Theo Fleury has been awarded the Canadian Humanitarian Award, The Queen’s Jubilee Medallion, and is an honorary Chief and recipient of the Aboriginal Indspire Award. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Science from the University of Guelph-Humber for outstanding contributions to the Mental Health of Canadians. Most recently he was bestowed with a second honorary doctorate in Laws from Brandon University in recognition for his contributions combating child sexual abuse and for his outstanding efforts to promote healing and recovery.