In Frost's shadow

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. -- You could sense the uneasiness when the subject was broached.

Sheldon Keefe is at the RBC Royal Bank Cup as the head coach and general manager of the Pembroke Lumber Kings, not as an acquaintance and former client of David Frost.

In his first year behind the bench, the 26-year-old took the Lumber Kings to the national semifinal before falling 3-2 in overtime yesterday to the Aurora Tigers yesterday. Camrose and Prince George squared off in the other semifinal last night.

That's where Keefe's focus was and not on questions surrounding his relationship with his former agent who's been charged with six counts of sexual exploitation in Ontario. Or his friendship with former teammate Mike Danton who is serving a prison term in the U.S. for plotting to kill Frost.

"I'm not all that concerned about it. Here I am, doing my own thing," Keefe said. "I'm not a 16-year-old kid playing junior hockey anymore.

"I have a lot of responsibilities trying to run this team. I'm living my own life. I try not to pay attention to all that stuff going on. We have a good thing here and I don't like any distractions."

Keefe, a former NHLer who played 125 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning, walked away from a pro career to become a junior A coach.

He served as president of the club for the past four years, and took over as head coach in June of last year.

'BATTLES'

"I was at a stage in my career where I'd gone through some battles -- I blew out my knee and had long surgery and rehab with that -- and I was kind of at a stage where I had been in the NHL for three years, then I went to the minors and I was bouncing around from city to city.

"I was fortunate that a few years into my playing career I invested in a hockey team in Pembroke. That was something I knew in the back of my mind that I had something to fall back to. I still had the passion to play the game, but my knee was bothering me on a daily basis and I was battling in the minors so I made the decision to come here and I'm enjoying every minute of it."

At one time Frost was involved with the team, but a court order stemming from his charges now prevents him from any communication with Keefe or the Lumber Kings.

When Frost was charged last August, the Lumber Kings were in the national spotlight due to his association with the club.

By making it to the nationals, the Lumber Kings are back in the spotlight -- this time for the right reasons.

"There's always going to be adversity surrounding our team with Dave and Mike obviously," said Lumber Kings captain Scott Campbell. "But the team's put all that aside and just focused on hockey."


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