Former Calgary Flame Theo Fleury relaxes before this leg of the Victor Walk

The world of sport is chock full of statistics which measure just about anything regarding a player in any sport.

A simple click of a mouse and you can see what a MLB player does at bat against a lefthander after the 5th inning on Tuesday when the temperature is above 20C.

Now sometimes those stats don’t reveal anything you don’t already know. Other times you uncover something which opens your eyes about the player.

Well here’s a stat many people don’t know but can certainly be classed as an eye-opener for sure.

One in three girls and one on six boys have experienced an unwanted childhood trauma before the age of 18, according to the experts.

“ Well it’s the biggest epidemic on the planet,” explained former Calgary Flame star Theo Fleury during a stop in Red Deer. “There’s 13.5 million Canadians who have experienced childhood trauma from the stats and the goal here is to reach out to all those people that are sort of suffering in silence and haven’t found their voices yet.”

The reaching out is done through the nationwide Victor Walk movement as Fleury treks from Edmonton to Calgary spreading awareness and hope.

“ Most of us who experienced childhood trauma, we think we’re the only ones going through this experience and so the Victor Walk was created to be a safe place with a whole bunch of people who all had traumatic childhoods and just share our stories with one another.”

Fleury knows all about the subject as he related in his popular book Playing With Fire.

In it he details the terrifying time in his life when he was constantly sexually and mentally abused by his former junior hockey coach Graham James.

The genesis of the idea of a walk began to take form for him several years ago while at a book signing in Toronto.

He noticed a man standing in line tightly clutching one of the books to his chest with his eyes directly on the floor, slowly making his way towards Fleury to get the book signed.

“ He gets to the front of the line, puts the book on the table, looks me in the eye and says ‘me too’.”

Several more came forward that day with their own ‘me too’ version and Fleury says since 2009 they’ve had more than 500,000 people speaking about their trauma.

He says the plan was to create something grassroots with not much organization-just a walk.

“ So that’s what we did in 2013, we walked from Toronto to Ottawa and the eight of us that went on the walk, we were all completely changed by the experience .”

Fleury said people would drive up, get out of their cars and their heads would be down as they gingerly approahced the group. After a 10 to 20 minute chat where they related their own story about childhood trauma he said you could see their posture change, their eyes would light up and they would have a little more jump in their step.

The walkers who join Fleury are all decked out in orange t-shirts with the symbol of a frog on the front.

The Orange movement hits Red Deer.
The Orange movement hits Red Deer.

It’s a symbol with an interesting story attached to it.

Throughout his travels Fleury has had the opportunity to visit more than 120 First Nations communities across Canada and he was “gifted” this frog and the story asks the question -have you ever seen a frog hop backwards?

“ The frog can look to the left and the frog can look to the right but it’s always moving forward,” he said.

It’s a perfect bit of symbolism provided by Mother Nature and First Nations people.

Money raised during the Victor Walk goes into the Breaking Free Foundation which is geared towards providing help and information.

“ People can write us a grant proposal, tell us their story and if they qualify we’ll pay for their therapy.”

Standing in front of the downtown  hockey arena in Red Deer Fleury said it was really no coincidence this interview took place there as hockey has given him everything he has in his life.

“ I’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have had the career I had. I think what it was (hockey) was preparing me for this role and this place in my life. I always thought I was just a hockey player but this is really what I was meant to do.”

You can learn more about the movement by going to www.victorwalk.com.