Former hockey coach David Frost heads to court Friday in Napanee, Ont. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
So what exactly can be gleaned from the not guilty verdict rendered by Ontario Court Justice Geoffrey Griffin in the trial of former NHL agent David Frost on sexual exploitation charges?
Were we all wrong about Frost? Was a good man railroaded by a system run amok? On the flip side, was the judge completely erroneous in his findings? Was somebody on the take?
I’m not overly concerned with such questions, because as I’ve said before, there’s a big difference between law and justice. In the eyes of the law, David Frost committed no crime in that small-town motel room (whether he did with Mike Danton’s credit card will be determined in a future proceeding).
True, Frost had one of Toronto’s toughest lawyers, Marie Henein, while the prosecution was rapped by the judge for not making the most convincing arguments seemingly available, but hey – that’s how the legal system works and Frost was entitled to his day in court, so to speak. With a defense lawyer of such skill, who knows if Frost would have even done meaningful jail time had he been convicted, anyway.
But justice is still out there. That concept, of which so much of our society is built, will manifest itself in every parent out there who now realizes that dreams of NHL contracts are usually just that and if a coach, agent or team volunteer seems to have a little too much influence over their son, it may be time to take a step back.
I know; Frost’s track record of graduating players to the NHL was far from impressive to begin with and his “aggressive” style behind the bench seemed disturbing, but the fact is he was still trusted by some parents.
If there’s any silver lining, it is that “David Frost” has become a verb. When the inevitable next Svengali begins his reign in some small town where the dreams are few but the rink is always open, the smart adults will begin talking and the name will come up.
For those who cast off those concerns, who maintain that hockey is tough and you have to get to the top By Any Means Necessary…well, you’ve had your warning. I can’t tell you how to raise your kids and I can’t tell you how to live your life.
But there are tens of thousands of teenagers out there right now who think they will be the next Steven Stamkos or Patrick Kane. Many are too immature to realize the long odds stacked against them and they trust their parents and coaches to guide them through what is a chaotic time in any teen’s life, let alone one who possesses skills that set many hearts a-flutter in North America.
For them, the law isn’t there to help and it may never be. But if there is justice out there, then those kids will be steered onto the right path by adults who will nurture their talents in positive ways and watch over them responsibly.
Justice, not law, can give us that.
Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his column - The Straight Edge - every Friday, and his features, The Hot List and Prep Watch appears Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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