Mike Danton
Position Centre
Shoots Right
5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
190 lb (86 kg)
Swe-3 Team
F. Teams
Albany River Rats
New Jersey Devils
St. Louis Blues
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born (1980-10-21)October 21, 1980,
Brampton, ON, CAN
NHL Draft 135th overall, 2000
New Jersey Devils
Pro Career 2000 – present

Michael Sage Danton (born as Michael Stephen Jefferson on October 21, 1980) is a Canadian ice hockey player currently playing for the IFK Ore of the Swedish Division 1. Danton played for the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League between 2000 and 2004, before being imprisoned for a conspiracy to commit murder. He was released on parole on September 11, 2009 after 63 months in jail, the original sentence being 90 months.

Junior hockey career[edit | edit source]

Danton began junior hockey in the 1996-97 season with the Quinte Hawks of the Metro Junior A Hockey League. He played in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997 to 2000 with the Sarnia Sting, the St. Michael's Majors, and the Barrie Colts. Playing for the Colts during the 2000 Memorial Cup in Halifax, Danton, then going by his birth name Jefferson, commented in the press that Brad Richards would not last five games in the Ontario Hockey League.[1] and later refused to shake Richards' hand after he had been named tournament MVP.[2]

Professional hockey career (2000-2004)[edit | edit source]

Selected 135th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Danton was a left winger for the St. Louis Blues, who traded a 3rd round draft pick to New Jersey to obtain him. He played 68 games for the Blues in the 2003–04 season. While with the Devils organization, he changed his last name from Jefferson to Danton after becoming estranged from his family. He admitted he adopted the surname "Danton" from the name of a 13-year-old boy at David Frost's hockey camp, because the name sounded "cool". He also feuded with New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello and was suspended by the team, prompting his eventual trade to St. Louis.[3]

Arrest and imprisonment (2004–2009)[edit | edit source]

On April 16, 2004, two days after the Blues were eliminated from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, Danton was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. On July 16, 2004, he pled guilty to attempting to hire a hitman, who was actually a police dispatcher, to murder David Frost, his agent, and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Stiehl to seven-and-a-half years in a United States federal prison. To this day, however, Frost denies that he was the target. Recently, Danton has claimed that his original target was his estranged father, Steve Jefferson.

In November 2005, the CBC program The Fifth Estate aired a documentary, Rogue Agent, about the history between Danton and Frost. In it, the documentary casts light on the controlling relationship Frost had with Danton and how he encouraged Danton to estrange himself from his parents, as well as an alleged incident where Frost and a group of his players abused Danton's younger brother. The documentary also focuses on a taped telephone call Danton made to Frost a week after his arrest. In it, Frost instructs Danton to plead guilty and ends the conversation demanding Danton say "I love you," which Danton does, further fueling speculation of a homosexual relationship between the two. In 2006, Frost was charged with 12 counts of sexual exploitation related to acts on three females and four males between the ages of 14 and 16, alleged to have occurred during the time that Frost was Danton's junior hockey coach, with the Quinte Hawks. Frost was acquitted of all charges on November 28, 2008; the trial included testimony from women who had participated in threesomes with other players and Danton.[4] In an unrelated matter, Frost was also acquitted on February 14, 2009 of fraud charges related to the use of one of Danton's credit cards; Danton stated that Frost had his permission to use the card.[5]

In July 2008, in an article in the Denver Post, it was revealed that Howard Kieffer, the lawyer who represented Danton in his murder conspiracy case, had never graduated from law school, and so was not licensed to practice law. In September 2008, Kieffer pled not guilty to two felony charges and news reports revealed that he would not be representing himself.[6]

On March 19, 2009, the United States Bureau of Prisons granted Danton's request to be transferred to a Canadian prison after five years at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone; he was housed at the Pittsburgh Institution in Joyceville, Ontario. Under Canadian law, Danton was eligible for parole,[7] which was granted on September 11, 2009. Conditions of his parole include no contact with his father (who Danton now claims was the intended target), and no face-to-face meetings with Frost (widely believed to be Danton's actual target).[8]

University hockey career (2010–2011)[edit | edit source]

Danton took university correspondence courses at Queen's University while imprisoned. In fall 2009 he applied to Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia for January 2010 entry. Danton initially enrolled in three courses for the winter 2010 semester and joined the Saint Mary's Huskies varsity men's hockey team.[9]

On January 27, 2010, Danton played in his first game since being released from prison, and scored a goal for the Saint Mary's Huskies, during their 4-1 loss to the Acadia Axemen, played at the Halifax Forum in Halifax. On January 30, 2010, Danton played for the Saint Mary's Huskies during a 5-3 loss to the UPEI Panthers played at the MacLauchlan Arena in Charlottetown. On March 28, 2010, the Saint Mary's Huskies defeated the Alberta Golden Bears to win the 2010 University Cup, played in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

It was announced by Canadian Interuniversity Sport on October 4, 2010 that Mike Danton had been named an Academic All-Canadian based on a student CIS athlete achieving a grade point average of 3.7 or higher. Danton achieved a 3.9 GPA overall through the winter and spring semesters as well as summer school, and it was revealed in a media story that his study ethic keeps him in the Patrick Power Library at Saint Mary's until 11pm each night.[10]

Return to professional hockey (2011–present)[edit | edit source]

On July 28, 2011, Danton announced on his Twitter account that he had signed with a Swedish professional club for the 2011–12 season.[11] The following day, this was confirmed to be the Division 1 club IFK Ore. The club explained that "We're obviously aware of his background but it was years ago". The club further explained that Danton's playing knowledge was the reason why the club chose to acquire him.[12]

On September 20, 2011, while playing his first game for Ore, Danton saved Marcus Bengtsson's life using skills he learned in prison. After his linemate hit his head on the ice after a hard hit, Bengtsson started convulsing. Danton waited for his teammate's mouth to release before using his hand to prevent Bengtsson from choking on his own tongue.[13]

Career statistics[edit | edit source]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1996–97 Quinte Hawks MetJHL 35 10 18 28 281
1997–98 Sarnia Sting OHL 12 6 1 7 37
1997–98 St. Michael's Majors OHL 18 4 6 10 77
1998–99 St. Michael's Majors OHL 27 18 22 40 116
1998–99 Barrie Colts OHL 26 15 20 35 62 9 6 5 11 38
1999–2000 Barrie Colts OHL 58 34 53 87 203 25 7 16 23 107
2000–01 Albany River Rats AHL 69 19 15 34 195
2000–01 New Jersey Devils NHL 2 0 0 0 6
2002–03 New Jersey Devils NHL 17 2 0 2 35
2003–04 St. Louis Blues NHL 68 7 5 12 141 5 1 0 1 2
2009-10 Saint Mary's Huskies AUS 7 3 1 4 6 9 6 3 9 6
NHL totals 87 9 5 14 182 5 1 0 1 2

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Koshan, Terry. "What was Colt thinking? We may never know", Toronto Sun, May 29, 2000. Retrieved on 2008-11-17. 
  2. "Hockey on trial as coach appeals suspension for throwing game", CBC Sports, November 10, 2000. Retrieved on 2008-11-17. 
  3. Duff, Bob. "Danton's troubled past catches up to him: Former Blues center convicted of trying to hire for murder", NBC Sports.com, July 17, 2004. Retrieved on 2008-11-17. 
  4. Frost Trial: No Law Against Being Repugnant The Star, November 29, 2008
  5. Frost Cleared of Impersonating One of His Players National Post, February 14, 2009
  6. Wetzel, Dale. "Man accused of being fake lawyer won't defend self", The Associated Press, September 16, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-11-17. 
  7. Mike Danton Now in Canadian Prison Sporting News, March 31, 2009
  8. http://www.sbnation.com/2009/9/11/1026719/mike-danton-paroled
  9. "Danton wants to play hockey at Halifax university", CBC, January 12, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-01-12. Archived from the original on 2010-01-13. 
  10. Turning his life around: Mike Danton speaks to teens about the mistakes he made in his life
  11. Alanah McGinley (2011-07-28). Mike Danton Back in the Game. KuklasKorner. Retrieved on 2011-07-29.
  12. Jens Nielsen (2011-07-29). Mike Danton klar för Ore! (Swedish). IFK Ore. Retrieved on 2011-07-29.
  13. Rising, Malin. Mike Danton Uses Prison Skills to Save Teammate. AP.

External links[edit | edit source]

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