Rick Rypien’s death prompted the Vancouver Canucks to try to plan a tough battle against depression and with good reason: the former tough guy is far from the only hockey player to struggle with such demons. Daniel Ryder ranks as an ex-NHL prospect whose issues held him back to the point that he went from being a promising player to someone who ended up in a psychiatric hospital after turning himself in amid accusations of holding up a convenience store.
The sad story of the brother of former Boston Bruins and current Dallas Stars sniper Michael Ryder (pictured) might take at least a small step in a positive direction, as CBC News reports that Daniel was found not guilty for that robbery today. In total, the CBC reports that he was cleared of three charges: theft, robbery with violence and wearing a disguise.
It seems like the case came down to a lack of concrete evidence of Daniel’s guilt, according to the judge’s decision. The Packet provides a few more strange details from the trial and the court’s decision.
Judge Patrick Kennedy cleared the former hockey star on all charges. Kennedy took almost two hours to read his decision, indicating there was a high degree of evidence pointing to Ryder’s opportunity to commit the offence. However, he said, the burden of proof was not met by the Crown.
The trial was based around a video of the robbery and circumstantial evidence of Ryder’s activities on the night of the robbery. Nobody could positively identify the suspect in the video, and there was no forensic evidence linking Ryder to the scene of the crime. Ryder’s behaviour at the time was unusual which, according to testimony in court, was due in part to mental illness that was diagnosed after the robbery.
Kennedy said the evidence “does not draw the net tightly enough around the accused.”
Hopefully Daniel Ryder is in the process of getting the help he needs to turn his life around, even if hockey left the picture quite a while ago.