By WEB STAFF
Former St. Louis Blues forward Mike Danton insists it was his father, Steve Jefferson, he wanted murdered in 2004, and not his agent, David Frost, as most people suspect.
In an exclusive hour-long interview with Sportsnet Hockeycentral’s Nick Kypreos to be aired Wednesday evening, Danton says he feared for his own life and his attempt to hire a hitman was a pre-emptive strike.
"My intended victim was my biological father, Steve Jefferson," Danton, 29, tells Kypreos. "I was believing that there was somebody actually coming after me to end my life and the way I looked at it was I don’t want to die.
"I don’t know really what was going on in actuality, just my mind told me that this was going to happen and I reacted and made a terrible mistake."
Danton was 23 when he was arrested by the FBI in April 2004 and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. He was playing for the St. Louis Blues at the time and his team had just been eliminated from the NHL playoffs.
Danton pleaded guilty in July of that year and in November of 2004 was sentenced to 7½ years in prison. He was transferred to a Canadian prison this past April and was granted parole in September.
The prosecutors at his trial claimed it was Frost, who Danton regarded as a father figure, who was the intended victim. Frost had been an influence in Danton’s life for years, including taking Danton into his home when a teenaged Danton moved out of the Jefferson’s Brampton, ON home, claiming abuse.
Steve Jefferson and his wife, Sue, have denied they abused Danton. Danton changed his name from Jefferson in 2002.
"From day one I’ve never said that (Frost) was the target," Danton says. "That was the newspapers and the government agencies leaking that to the press and they ran with it."
That’s just one of the revelations Danton makes in the revealing interview, in which he talks about his life in prison, his desire to return to hockey, and his relationship with Frost.
"It’s not sexual, I can tell you that," Danton tells Kypreos of the relationship that began when Frost coached Danton’s junior team. "From the age of 14 I had always looked at (Frost) as a father figure.
"If I wasn’t talking to him on a daily basis, I talked to his wife, I talked to his kids and that’s the type of relationship that we had."
Frost has had his own problems with authorities. In November, 2008 he was acquitted of sexual exploitation of two junior hockey players he used to coach, and was also later acquitted of the fraudulent use of Danton’s credit card while Danton was imprisoned.
Frost is no longer an authorized agent by the National Hockey League Players Association.
Danton says he has been skating since his release and he hopes to play hockey again, but that Frost won’t be part of his hockey future.
"Dave and I have talked and we both agree that it’s not the best thing in the world for Dave to be associated with my hockey," Danton says. "My road consists of hockey. Dave Frost is not involved with my hockey.
"I’m going down this fork in the road, Dave’s going down that fork in the road. I’m going that alone and that’s where I’m going."
Danton says he bounced around numerous U.S. prisons during his 5½ years of incarceration, most of that in Fort Dix in New Jersey and Sandstone in Minnesota.
While he says now that the experience "saved his life," he admits he thought about suicide while behind bars.
"When I went into prison it was a bad time for me," Danton says. "There were a couple of occasions where I actually shredded the towels and made a little noose.
"I was sick and tired of being alone. Sick and tired of being unwanted."
Danton says regular therapy while in prison helped him to gain the confidence to heal himself.
"I really started being confident in making my decisions, handling myself in certain situations," he says. "That’s when I knew that I was going to be all right, that I knew it didn’t matter what I was going to face, that I was going to be all right."
For the complete interview, tune in to Sportsnet Wednesday. Broadcast times are:
Sportsnet East – 8 pm ET
Sportsnet Ontario – 9 pm ET
Sportsnet West – 8 pm MT
Sportsnet Pacfic – 9 pm PT