"... as someone who strongly believes in rehabilitation and reintegration, I respectfully disagree with (Toronto Star columnist Damien) Cox. Given the number, and severity, of the obstacles Danton has been through, I think he's ready for another chance. If put in the same situation, it seems hockey would be the first thing I would remove myself from and many players would have rolled over and died long before Danton did. His long-time battle with (David) Frost is something all players, parents and coaches fear. In Danton’s case, though, he fought most of his battles without the support or guidance from parental figures.Does that make enough sense? Cassidy brought it home better than some of us could in 2,000-odd words. It gives hope that when the media revolution stops spinning, there will be a place for people who are a little more logical, factual and non-judgmental.
"... So I say: Good for Danton and kudos to the Huskies for taking on a player with such baggage.
"Regarding Cox's comments on (Danton's) track record in professional hockey, I shake my head once again. The CIS is largely made up of players with major junior and professional experience.
"Only a few seasons ago, I was fortunate to line up against the likes of (NHL stars) Corey Perry, John Tavares, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos and Bobby Ryan. Not only does the addition of a player with 92 games in the NHL not worry me, there have been others come before him with more impressive track records (Jared Aulin's 224 NHL/AHL games before joining the Calgary Dinos in the CIS in 2007-08). Often, players come into the league having been drafted to the NHL or spent time in the ECHL, AHL, or at NHL training camps. Following graduation, many go on to net NHL contracts.
"Lastly, Cox goes on to say schools carefully protect the age of their roster, 'so the kid who graduates high school on time and would like to attend university at the age of 18 and perhaps play for his school? No chance.'
"Speaking from my three-year CIS experience, I’ve never seen a player attend training without being formally invited. Most players, myself included, chased our dream of playing in the NHL by way of major junior hockey in the CHL or elsewhere. By the time we reached 21, you’re officially too old.
"And so, considering the CHL now offers full tuition, books and compulsory fees for each year played in the league, it only makes sense to take full advantage of that opportunity." (Emphasis mine.)
Jason Cassidy's Blog: Danton deserves second chance (The Hockey News)