December 01, 2005

ROGUE AGENT: In the early morning of April 16, 2004 NHL hockey player Mike Danton was arrested by FBI agents at the San Jose, California airport. He was charged with conspiring to have "a male acquaintance" murdered in a "murder-for-hire" plot. A TROUBLING RELATIONSHIP. But, in the week after his arrest, from inside the Santa Clara, California jail, Danton started reaching out to the very man he had tried to have killed--his mentor in hockey and life and currently his agent--David Frost. ... The fifth estate obtained a number of these recorded conversations. They provide a chilling glimpse into the world of the troubled player and his controlling agent. [Red Terror sez: Read the transcripts and by all means watch this unforgettable documentary (streaming video available) that explores the seedy side of the NHL dream.

posted by the red terror to hockey at 04:40 PM - 30 comments

thanks for posting a link to the video. i didn't want to miss this.

posted by garfield at 04:52 PM on December 01, 2005

I'm so I can't watch the video but I read the transcipt of the phone call. This Danton/Jefferson guy is totally fucked. I believe it was an abusive/homosexual relationship the two had and their is still no clear reason on why Danton wanted him dead (the 25k thing was bullshit, right?) Good link Red Terror

posted by HATER 187 at 04:57 PM on December 01, 2005

The whole freaking show was just plain creepy. I feel pretty sorry for Danton. If you've just been conditioned your entire life to follow the orders of one man, and you feel if you disobey him your career will probably end, how do you break away? I'm not condoning hiring a hit man, but just the fashion in which he went about it shows you how socially retarded Danton is thanks to his involvement with Frost. I listened to an interview with the reporter who filed this on the FAN590 yesterday, and he relayed this story: A St. Louis radio reporter told me how happy Danton seemed when he came to the Blues. After one practice, he was especially giddy, and said he was thrilled to have been invited to Keith Tzachuk's house for dinner the next evening. The next day, the same reporter saw Danton and said he was completely depressed. Here is as close as I can remember the exchange: "Why are you so down, Mike?" "I can't go to Keith's for dinner." "Why not? Something come up?" "No, he won't let me go." "What do you mean? Who could tell you you couldn't have dinner at a friend's house?" "I can't talk about it. I'm just not allowed to go." That's freaking scary. Also, here's a fun tidbit -- apparently former NHLer Sheldon Keefe still lives with Frost.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:02 PM on December 01, 2005

Oh, god, is the Danton/Frost thing still going on? This was messed up when the news first broke, when, two or three years ago?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:06 PM on December 01, 2005

Good link but please no more of the bold text.

posted by tieguy at 05:07 PM on December 01, 2005

I watched the thing last night, and I was torn between a couple things. One, I figured there must've been some homosexuality-or-something humiliating that Frost used to split Danton from his family and change his name and then control him when there was nobody left to support him. But on the other hand, it also reminded me of the Svengali-like control that Colonel Tom Parker used to exercise over Elvis. If you read Peter Guralnick's definitive bio Last Train to Memphis, you will get a very good idea how the Colonel convinced Elvis that he was a nobody without his guidance, and that he would be a nobody if the guidance was gone. By the time Elvis got out of the army, the King was so insecure and convinced that his career was shot and rudderless without the Colonel, that he practically fell to his knees and begged for his assiatnce when everyone else thought it was a bad idea. In Elvis's mind, the Colonel was the direct avenue to success and the stuff dreams are made, and without him he was a nobody. That's a strong bond -- and there are no hints or innuendo about homosexuality between them. Frost is a more sinister and depraved individual than Parker -- the Colonel just wanted money -- but I can't really tell what's going on. The unspoken stuff is scary, I hope they get to the bottom of the mystery. I particularly enjoyed the way Frost tried to play a tough-guy bully intimidating the reporter Bob McKeown, but McKeown wasn't the least bit intimidated, instead it was Frost that looked like a cornered and frightened little boy. I also thought it remarkably disturbing how Frost was given a license to be an agent, despite being thrown out of two hockey leagues for offenses that included forgery and assault. And who can Mr. Frost thank for winning the lottery and being handed certification to be an agent? Why, noneother than his tight relationship with NHLPA president Bob Goodenow. Sick, sick, sick. (BTW I hope the vid stream works for you guys --I haven't done a check on it, I watched the actual broadcast last night. Cheers.)

posted by the red terror at 05:15 PM on December 01, 2005

Oh, god, is the Danton/Frost thing still going on? This was messed up when the news first broke, when, two or three years ago? To answer your question, the first sentence reads: April 16, 2004.

posted by the red terror at 05:17 PM on December 01, 2005

Good link but please no more of the bold text. Yes, officer.

posted by the red terror at 05:18 PM on December 01, 2005

No, seriously, please don't do it unless there's a reason to. The fact the agate type in your newspaper has it doesn't mean we need it online.

posted by yerfatma at 05:33 PM on December 01, 2005

No, seriously, please don't do it unless there's a reason to. There is a perfectly good reason for doing it; namely, people lead busy lives and like to scan headlines and articles looking for names and places that catch their attention, without having to drag their ass through things that don't interest them. It's hardly an alien practise. Now, conversely, there could be perfectly good reasons not to, and if so, I am more than receptive to hear them. And seriously, every time I hear people whingeing about peevish frivolous matters, I really do hear that Fugazi song playing in my head.

posted by the red terror at 05:44 PM on December 01, 2005

"Oh, god, is the Danton/Frost thing still going on?" No offense, but is it just me that finds it mildly amusing and somewhat ironic that a pugnacious rhetorical question like that would be asked by someone who minutes earlier posted a topic header that reads: "Red Sox play petty over championship ball. No, it's not over, and yes, the Red Sox lawyers are still after Doug Mentkiewicz to give it back." Just saying...

posted by the red terror at 05:55 PM on December 01, 2005

Explain for those of us who lack your well-developed sense of irony, trc: just where does the irony lie? I'm well aware that the first line reads April 16, 2004; I'm also aware that I read a story in one of the Best American Sports Fiction series, and I don't know which one it was, but I know it was before 2004, about this very fiasco. It has been going on for a long time. This topic clearly lies close to the quick for you -- witness the way you snapped at both me and tieguy -- but you've misunderstood. No one is attacking you or your choice of topic. I was just saying that this ugly Danton/Frost mess has unfortunately been going on for quite a while.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:03 PM on December 01, 2005

"Best American Sports Fiction series, and I don't know which one it was, but I know it was before 2004, about this very fiasco." Uh, come again...? This isn't fiction. You must have visted a clairvoyant. And I still didn't snap.

posted by the red terror at 06:25 PM on December 01, 2005

"It has been going on for a long time." Danton was arrested April 16, 2004. Danton played his last game a day earlier -- on April 15, 2004. To my recollection, there was no prior knowledge of this crime prior to that game in San Jose. I would be delighted to be shown differently by the Best American Sports Fiction series.

posted by the red terror at 06:30 PM on December 01, 2005

This is bizarre, as of today: Danton's father arrested: Report. Dec. 1, 2005. 06:10 PM BRAMPTON (CP) The father of imprisoned former NHL player Mike Danton has reportedly been arrested. Media reports, quoting family members, said police arrested Steve Jefferson and took him to Kingston, Ont., on suspicion of harassing player agent David Frost. The news comes the day after CBC aired a television documentary on Danton's troubled life. Danton is serving 7 1/2 years in a New Jersey prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. Prosecutors say Danton planned to kill Frost, who lives just outside Kingston. Police would not confirm if Jefferson had been arrested, but his wife Sue Jefferson and son Tom Jefferson both said they saw police take him away. Tom Jefferson told thehockeynews.com that police arrested his father outside his work at a Brampton hospital, but he was not handcuffed. Jefferson also alluded to the reasons for his father's arrest. "I know my dad got a hold of Frost's number and was leaving him phone messages every once in a while," he told thehockeynews.com. "He wasn't threatening him physically or anything, just leaving random messages saying things like, you know, his time is going to come, and he should be ashamed of himself ... that kind of thing." Danton, 25, changed his name from Jefferson when he was in his teens, and has been estranged from his family. He is in a Fort Dix, N.J., prison and has applied for a transfer to a Canadian facility. (AM640 Toronto, thehockeynews.com)

posted by the red terror at 06:36 PM on December 01, 2005

You know, if I was Mike Jefferson/Danton's father, I would have been a bit more aggressive toward the guy who ruined at least one of my kids' lives like this. If I were in Steve Jefferson's place, I'd have this fucktard's balls in a vice and his dick in a blender. (Which is part of why I don't have kids. I can't guarantee I wouldn't do something crazy and criminal to a guy who pulled this crap with my kid.) And why would I not be surprised if this wasn't the only creepy-svengali-mentor-I'm-your-everything guy in minor hockey? I wonder how many are out there, working on their stories with their charges even as we speak? I have two serious and deep hopes for this case. One is that I hope this blows the lid off of manipulative abusers like Frost and shows hockey parents some warning signs so they can avoid this kind of relationship with "coaches" and "agents" in the future without being needlessly fearful. (If the agencies involved improved their screening procedures so people like this don't slip through the cracks, more to the good.) The other thing I'm hoping for is that whatever happens and wherever he winds up, Mike Danton gets a sense of peace and identity out of all this. After watching that Fifth Estate piece, he sounds even more lost than I thought.

posted by chicobangs at 07:05 PM on December 01, 2005

"Best American Sports Fiction series, and I don't know which one it was, but I know it was before 2004, about this very fiasco." Uh, come again...? This isn't fiction. You must have visted a clairvoyant. My mistype; the well-known series is, of course, the Best American Sports Writing. I did try to find the reference to the exact year, but couldn't -- their TOCs aren't searchable online. "It has been going on for a long time." Danton was arrested April 16, 2004. Danton played his last game a day earlier -- on April 15, 2004. To my recollection, there was no prior knowledge of this crime prior to that game in San Jose. The problem with quoting out of context is that it often removes a pronoun's antecedents; in this case, the antecedent to the pronoun "it". With context replaced, "it" clearly refers to "the Danton/Frost thing", and I don't know why you're so upset by my comment that "it" has been going on for quite some time, because it has. I read about this at least a year ago in some edition of Best American Sports Writing, which would have been the 2004 edition at the latest. Given the lead time on submissions for an anthology like that, the piece in question would have been written quite some time before that. That's all. I'm sorry that the whole thing makes you so overwrought, but once again, neither you nor your thread are under attack.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:38 PM on December 01, 2005

conversely, there could be perfectly good reasons not to, and if so, I am more than receptive to hear them. It breaks the formatting conventions of the site, which is a purely aesthetic thing, but I think it's worth consideration. Furthermore, it calls undue attention to the posts that use it, which leads to an arms race of formatting attempts******* to make sure you see my important thing*******. In all honesty, while I take your scanability point, I'd like to think this site is diametrically opposed to the "scan, don't read, post an inflammatory opinion" approach. If you want to make the topic of your post immediately obvious, wrapping it inside the post's link is a good way to do that.

posted by yerfatma at 07:52 PM on December 01, 2005

i come down the side of lose the bold, but you can get the same effect by just hyperlinking those names/whatever to further relevant content. and man, this story is creee-P.

posted by gspm at 09:19 PM on December 01, 2005

This is ridiculous. If it were a movie, you'd be staggered at its implausibility. How can Frosty-McTouchy over here, get away with this kind of manipulative crap? Yep, dammit this plot is terrible, I'm changing the channel. Hey if you wanna get traffic to your post - just post something interesting. We'll read it.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:53 PM on December 01, 2005

I hate to jump to conclusions, but those transcripts sure sounded like something out of a twisted, gay-love, Lifetime movie. That agent from other things I've read sure sounds like complete scum. The player on the other hand just sounds like a real messed up kid that has alot of issues. Not saying that gives him a free pass on calling in a hit on a guy, but if he was abused earlier in the relationship and couldn't think of a way to get free from the situation I almost understand his logic(being that of a troubled young man) troubled people make mistakes, sometimes serious ones. However in light of their situation sometimes they are maybe fairly understandable.

posted by Fade222 at 03:28 AM on December 02, 2005

sorry if that post was incoherent way too much Crown Royal tonight.

posted by Fade222 at 03:29 AM on December 02, 2005

Hey if you wanna get traffic to your post - just post something interesting. We'll read it. Amen.

posted by tieguy at 07:57 AM on December 02, 2005

The buildup was too much for Steve Jefferson to take, the same Steve Jefferson who told me in an 1999 interview that "Dave Frost was the best thing that ever happened to my kid." Seems like pops is little confused as well.

posted by garfield at 09:33 AM on December 02, 2005

All it is going to take is Frost doing this same thing to the wrong kid and that kid's father is going to be doing life in prison for murder. #1, I would never allow someone to control my child like Frost controlled those kids. #2 If someone did have that much control over my son, I would beat the ever-lovin' shit out of the scum bag. What goes around comes around and Frost, one day, will get what is coming to him.

posted by grabofsky74 at 10:52 AM on December 02, 2005

#1, I would never allow someone to control my child like Frost controlled those kids. Jefferson/Danton came up through the Major Junior system, though, didn't he? If that was the case, maybe that's part of the problem -- he would have moved away from home as a teenager, after which he would have been living with a host family, not with his own parents.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:05 AM on December 02, 2005

Unfortunately, this is hardly the first time this has surfaced in Junior Hockey.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:29 PM on December 02, 2005

lbb, from my understanding the vast majority of Major Junior and Canadian Hockey League players are billeted with absolutely no problem, aside from homesickness. I think the overriding bit of weirdness here is that Frost moved into the same neighborhood as the Jeffersons after he started working with Mike. I mean ... wtf? I give the parents a bit of slack because at first, it might have seemed like their son just had a really good relationship with his coach. Why they didn't just go apeshit after a while, though ... that's beyond me. Oh, another tidbit: Both Danton and Sheldon Keefe played for the Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts, the team in the town where I live. Last year was the team's 10th anniversary, and a card set was issued with the franchise's best players through that span. Conspicuously absent from said set -- Danton and Keefe. I was told the team was set by popular vote through the local newspaper, but that neither of them even had their names on the ballots through a direct order from management.

posted by wfrazerjr at 07:34 PM on December 02, 2005

Oh, I'm sure, wfrazerjr -- I mean, in the general case, most people aren't rapists and abusers, so of course it's a minority situation. OTOH, it seems logical that an abuser would gravitate to a scenario where the kid is less likely to resist abuse (power situations) and the abuse is less likely to be detected. If parents send their kids into a situation that mixes authority figures with biiiiig carrots (you can go pro!), the parents have to be extra-special vigilant -- and they have to know what the danger signs are, too. I suspect in this case a lot of danger signs were simply not recognized when doing so would have done some good.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:29 AM on December 03, 2005

Ding Dong, the bitch resigned. Too bad Goodenow doesn't have to answer any questions.

posted by garfield at 01:14 PM on December 06, 2005

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