SUN Hockey Pool

Dad waits to hear from Danton

STEVE SIMMONS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

For eight long and tortuous years, Sue and Steve Jefferson have waited to hear from their estranged son, Mike Danton.

Tonight, at least one of them will turn on their television set to Rogers Sportsnet and watch an hour-long interview with the former Mike Jefferson. Steve will listen to Mike Danton, The Untold Story, and maybe he'll take some notes. Sue isn't sure whether she has the strength or the inclination to go there anymore. Tom, the younger brother whose life has been terribly affected by his family blown apart, will sit with his father and listen to the brother he hardly knows speak in public for the first time in years.

Just what part of The Untold Story is told, how much is true, how much is fiction, will be determined by those who know this very sad story all too well and those whose lives have been entangled in one of the most misguided webs in hockey history.

"Sportsnet asked me to do an interview on this," Steve Jefferson said. "I told them I really don't have anything to say until I hear what Michael has to say. I asked them if I could look at the interview before they aired it; they told me that nobody wants to talk about it until it goes to air.

"But you know, Dave Frost always said the truth would come out. I guess this is their way of telling the truth."

It should be noted that Dave Frost had nothing to do with the arranging of this interview. That is what Nick Kypreos, the hockey player turned excellent commentator, has indicated. It was Kypreos who decided he wanted to interview Danton, wanted to find him, sit him down, get him to tell his story. That, by itself, is a journalistic victory of significance. But just how much Frost, the disgraced former agent and mentor, had to do with the content Danton will address is a matter that can't necessarily be quantified.

Steve Jefferson has been told his son again will identify him as the target of his mangled murder for hire plot, the crime that sent the former hockey player to prison for more than five years. That is the same story the National Parole Board bought hook, line and sinker. Never mind that it's nonsense. If Danton is doing this in some small way to try to open the hockey doors once again, to try to repair his own reputation, then lying won't exactly help him.

Jefferson has been told that his son will be critical of him, which is really nothing new. All that has gone along with him leaving home, changing his surname, talking about the lack of love in his home, and the closeness of the relationship with Frost.

In a brief excerpt of the interview, released by Sports net yesterday, Danton was asked to describe his relationship with Frost.

"Well, it's not sexual, I can tell you that," he said. "This homosexual stuff that came out in the beginning when I found that out, not to kind of put this down or anything, but I was laughing. It was funny to me."

What Danton says there contradicts two of the main witnesses in the sexual exploitation case against Frost, of which he was found not guilty.

"The relationship with Dave, I think people need to really understand it wasn't a player-agent relationship. I think that's where a lot of the views were kind of distorted and the media kind of took off with how bizarre this is (for) an agent (to) be able to have that type of control or influence on a young man.

"... Dave and his family took me in the for the first time when I was 11. I was hovering back and forth between 11 and 14 and I made the transition fully when I was 14. So from the age of 14, I had always looked at Dave as a father figure. This was more of a son-father relationship where I felt comfortable with Dave. I trusted him and I let him deal with my hockey issues. Which would make the outsider believe that it was a player-agent relationship because Dave would talk on my behalf."

Steve Jefferson hears these words and bristles. "Mike didn't even know Dave when he was 11. He met him when he was 12. And he never lived with Dave, but he did spend way too much time at his house along with Sheldon (Keefe).

"If he was living with Dave, how come when he moved to Quinte to play junior, just before his 16th birthday, we drove him there? My wife and I would argue about this relationship all the time. She saw Dave for what he was and what it was doing to our family. I just thought, this won't be long. He'll get drafted, he'll move on in his hockey career and that would be it. I was blind and stupid to what was going on, caught up in the Canadian dream. I knew at 16 he was going to the NHL. I didn't want to get in the way of him getting there."

Jefferson does have one question he would like his son to answer. It isn't about him, it's about the rest of the family.

"How come he doesn't talk to anyone in the family? If he's upset with me, that's one thing. What did my wife do to him? What did his brother do? His grandfather died and he didn't attend the funeral. He cut off his aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces he doesn't even know. Who does a thing like that?

"One more thing. Make sure he knows we love him very much."

---

DANTON FILE

From the NHL to prison to parole

2000-01 -- After playing in the Ontario Hockey League and the AHL, begins NHL career with New Jersey Devils.

July 2002 -- Legally changed his last name from Jefferson to Danton, saying only that he did not want to be associated with his family.

June 2003 -- Traded to St. Louis Blues.

April 16, 2004 -- Arrested by FBI agents on charges that he tried to hire someone to murder a man.

July 16, 2004 -- Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause a person to travel in interstate commerce to commit murder.

Nov. 8, 2004 -- Sentenced to 71/2 years in prison. Held in a low-security prison in Fort Dix, N.J.

March 19, 2009 -- Returned to Canada.

May 2009 -- Transferred to minimum-security Pittsburgh Institution in Kingston.

Sept. 11, 2009 -- Granted full parole after a three-hour hearing. Danton told the parole board that the person he wanted killed was his biological father, Steve Jefferson.


Videos

Photos