HALIFAX — Former NHL player Mike Danton, released from prison last fall after serving several years on a conspiracy to commit murder conviction, is in the process of enrolling at Saint Mary’s University and could suit up for the Huskies hockey team over the second half of the season.
The native of Brampton, Ont., whose relationship with controversial agent David Frost and a 7 1/2-year prison sentence from his 2004 conviction created considerable media interest across Canada, was granted parole in September. He served 5 1/2 years.
Saint Mary’s officials confirmed Monday that Danton contacted Huskies coach Trevor Stienburg last week about going there for the remainder of the school year. The school said he has met eligibility requirements to enrol.
However, some administrative details about his parole must be dealt with before he can move to Halifax, meaning if and when he can play remains unclear.
Stienburg said he did considerable soul-searching before deciding Danton should be given a chance.
“Initially I was very hesitant,” he said. “But I was challenged by my players (to accept Danton) for all the right reasons.”
A huge factor in Stienburg’s support for Danton was discussions with his own father. Malcolm Stienburg, an ordained minister, is a former prison chaplain and a senior member of the national parole board.
“Second chances,” Stienburg said. “I grew up with them as part of my life.
“There’s no question it’s the right thing to do. He has paid the price for a mistake he’s admitted was a huge mistake. He’s already been punished for it.”
Danton is no stranger to Halifax. He played in the city during the 2000 Memorial Cup as a member of the OHL’s Barrie Colts. At the time he was known as Mike Jefferson and drew criticism for his conduct on and off the ice during the tournament.
After his junior career, he graduated to the minor pro leagues and played in short stints during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons with New Jersey Devils. It looked like he’d found a more secure NHL home after a trade to St. Louis, where he played 68 games in 2003-04.
But his legal problems began after that season and his NHL career came to a halt.
Danton, 29, wasn’t available for comment Monday. He expressed in previous interviews that he wants to get back into pro hockey but can’t travel to the United States because of his criminal record.
Stienburg said Danton took university correspondence courses while in prison.
(Halifax Chronicle Herald)