KINGSTON, Ont. -- Former NHL player Mike Danton was granted full parole Friday after telling the National Parole Board the target of his murder-for-hire plot was his father, and not his controversial and oft-scrutinized former agent, David Frost.
As conditions of his release, Danton is to have no direct or indirect contact with his father, Steve Jefferson, and no face-to-face contact with Frost, unless pre-approved by his parole officer.
Danton said he hopes to return to playing hockey.
Danton, sporting a shaved head and crisp collared shirt, said he wants to get a post-secondary degree, noting he's interested in psychology, and that he loves teaching kids.
Would they let him teach kids?
While American authorities had alleged Frost was the target, Danton said Frost "turned out to be" the victim, but he was not the "intended victim."
Danton, who spent parts of three seasons playing for the St. Louis Blues and New Jersey Devils, explained that after canvassing a St. Louis club he frequented, trying to recruit a hit man, he called a girl he had been dating and she put him in touch with someone.
Don't most NHLers go to clubs to find women?
He said paranoia had gripped him, which he blamed partly on the use of stimulants and sleeping pills, and he believed someone was going to his apartment to murder him.
"Over the years there were conversations that pointed to someone who would have interest in ending my life and ending (Frost's) life," Danton said, adding he received "verbal confirmation" from a family member.
Danton said his childhood was dysfunctional and the relationship between him and his parents, Steve and Sue Jefferson, became so strained that he changed his last name from Jefferson, hasn't talked to his father since he was about 15 and admitted to tearing up and sending back the letters they wrote to him in prison.
He alleged Steve Jefferson was physically abusive and that Sue Jefferson did drugs. None of the allegations has been proven in court. The Jeffersons could not be reached for comment.
Danton alleged his father subjected him to repeated beatings and would force him to stay home from school if marks or bruises were too apparent, or was told to blame them on hockey injuries. He claimed his father beat up his mother too, but that she had problems of her own.
Speaking about his mother, Danton said he would come home from school in the afternoons and the house would reek of marijuana, then his mom would stay up at night, vacuuming the whole house. But he also alleged a lack of hygiene in the house, saying he didn't even know how to brush his teeth until Frost and his wife took him in.
There was no affection, no bedtime stories or kisses goodnight in his house, Danton said. But he said he didn't know his family's alleged behaviour wasn't normal until he had sleepovers at friends' houses and didn't see drug paraphernalia lying around or kitchen plates thrown across the room.
Turning to Frost as a father was a "no-brainer," Danton said.
When Frost became his coach at age 11, Danton clung to him as a role model, someone to trust. He said the way Frost has been portrayed in court testimony and in the media -- as a violent and controlling, all-encompassing presence in his players' lives -- is a big misconception.
Danton has several months left of parole time, during which, he cnnot leave Canada, and probably can't even leave Ontario without permission from his parole board. After his parole is over, he may be allowed to leave Canada. But, as a convicted felon (contract for murder) will USA Immigration Dept. give him a visa to re-enter USA? I doubt that they'd give him a work visa. If they don't, he'd be restricted to playing only in Canada (or, maybe Europe).
He probably did intend to kill Frost, but he would never say that about his gay lover. As bad as his childhood and his relationship with his parents were, his relationship with Frost didn't help things. The guy has severe trust issues and Frost took advantage of that.
At this point, I don't even care to read any more about this. It's pretty much impossible to figure out what really happened with Danton.
I'm sure his parents weren't amazing, and the creepy feeling just never washes itself off of the Frost and Danton situation.
But like I said, I don't care to really read much more about Danton anymore. This is mostly no longer about his hockey career and entirely about his personal life. No matter how messed up his situations have been, the fact that the media is printing everything he says right now isn't doing him any favors.
Danton will be playing for St. Mary's. Its just a matter of when. I don't ever see him playing in the NHL again but perhaps Europe if he wants to after he is done with College. I for one am hoping he suceeds in turning his life around.
Danton is in it for the long-term and if an NHL chance came, he wouldn't jump ship.
''That's a big if. I'm here to get a college degree and will certainly return next fall,'' said Danton.
Danton has two years of eligibility left but one person at SMU told me they may appeal to get another year if things work out.
Danton, who was convicted and did 5 1/2 years in prison for a failed murder-for-hire-plot, has indeed been given a second chance. He was released from an American prison in March of last year and returned to a Canadian prison in Kingston, Ontario. He was granted a full parole last September.
The target of the murder-for-hire plot was never identified but it is believed to be either his former agent David Frost or his father.
And, while Danton would love to get back to the NHL, there is the matter of the criminal record standing in the way to enter the United States.