Mike Danton Pt. 1
This episode of Sports Criminals Includes discussions of physical and sexual abuse involving a minor that some people may find offensive. We advise extreme caution for children under thirteen for two days in June. Two thousand hundreds of amateur hockey players all over the world waited with bated breath for their names to be called in the NHL entry draft nineteen year old. Mike Jefferson anxiously watched television with his coach. David David Frost after nearly ten years of hard work. The two men sat waiting to hear. Mike's name called. He never expected to be the first overall overall pick nor any first round pick it that he figured the second was his destiny but then the second round came and went as the third and the fourth Mike name still hadn't been called. He and his coach were getting nervous. Would he be picked. Would he have to spend another year any amateur. Oh L. League David. Frost became nervous as well. He had devoted all of his time and energy to developing thing Mike into a pro in it appeared may have been for nothing as the fifth round open. mics hopes were beginning to wane. After the Anaheim behind ducks took Peter Podrasky. It was time for the New Jersey devils to make their next election. Mike braced himself disappointment but then he heard heard the words he had been waiting for all day. The one hundred thirty fifth pick was Michael. Stephen Jefferson Mike in Frost cost. Were both elated for years. Mike had considered frost father. Frost considered Mike A son. Neither man would have expected affected that four years. After this moment of victory Mike would do the unthinkable. He would hire a man to kill David. Frost welcome to sports criminals. Apar- cast original every week. We dive into the dark side of sports history and look at athletes who not only broke the law but broke the rules and covenants of their sport but also uncover how their actions impacted the history of the sport they played. I'm Tim Johnson. And I'm Carter Roy. You can find episodes of sports criminals and all other par- cast originals for free on spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream. Sports criminals for free on spotify. Just open the APP and type sports criminals in the search bar at podcast. We're grateful for you our listeners. You allow us to do what we love. Let us know how we're doing reach out on facebook and instagram. At podcast and twitter PARKAS network. Today we begin our dive into the troubled life of Mike. Danton the Canadian hockey player who attempted to hire a Hitman to kill his own agent. David Frost this week. We'll dive into the complicated and sorted relationship. Mike had with Frost and how it stemmed from his troubled home life next week. We'll explore the attempted himself and it strange aftermath Mike Danton was never going to be the greatest hockey player in the game. A little too rough around the edges. He didn't have the grace that some of his contemporaries had he was more of a pest. A player whose job was less about about scoring goals than it was about getting into an opponent's head with trash talker minor penalties but what Mike lack in finesse he more than made up for in heart and raw passion for the game with the help of his longtime coach. Mike was able to harness that passion and make it into the NHL but it came at a price. He became increasingly paranoid. That someone was after him he led that fear take over him and it cost him everything like many Canadians. Mike Danton fell in love with hockey at a young age born. Mike Jefferson on October. Twenty first nineteen eighty. He and his father. Steve spent many late nights in their Brampton Ontario. Home watching any games they could find and when Mike was around six. He told his father that when he got older he was going to play in the NHL. A failed hockey prospect himself when he was younger. Steve's life didn't quite go the way he had wanted he fell into petty crime and found himself in and out of jail even when Mike was young according into Toronto Sun. Journalist Steve Simmons. Mike's father eventually earned eleven convictions including drug trafficking drunk driving and assault fault so when Little Mike told his father that he was going to spend the rest of his life playing the game he himself loved so much. Steve was thrilled. He I saw it as a way for his son to avoid the same brushes with the law that he faced growing up in Brampton. Roughly thirty miles from Toronto. Mike's Favorite team was was of course. The Toronto Maple leafs but soon he ditched his love for leafs and found himself idolizing single player. Steve is Roman of the Detroit. Troy redwings in Nineteen eighty-six twenty one year old is our men became the youngest captain in Red Wings. History known for being lightning fast on the breakaway and a deadly sniper from the Blue Line is Herman was the perfect player to look up to and soon mike would try to transfer what he saw on. TV to the ice at age seven. Mike graduated from the learn to play program and joined minor. Youth Hockey team called the Chin cousy blues. Who's he wasn't the only future? NHL Are on the team while playing with Ching cousy he made a lifelong friendship with eventual Tampa Bay lightning right winger Sheldon Keefe and while the Chin cousy blues weren't the Best Team Collectively Mike and Sheldon prove to be the top players. This deadly one two punch would carry them on their journey to the pros but trouble soon started brewing during a tournament. Mike's Father Steve got into a fistfight with another parent errant over. The head coach is questionable lineup decisions for the championship game. The coach stuck with his game plan and Chin. COUSY got stomped Steve. We've decided it was time for his son. Find a new team after a successful tryout. Mike entered the Metropolitan Toronto Hockey q league where he played for the Toronto Red Wings but upon joining the team Mike and his family discovered the dark side of Youth Ice Hockey. Mike loved playing hockey but in order to play he had to get on the Ice Steve Recalls might coming home from games in tears because he was hardly playing. Mike didn't understand why he was putting in so much effort practice. Just a sit on the bench. Mike wasn't the problem it was his parents. Checkbook like many youth programs hockey requires boosters or donations that allow team to operate for the Jeffersons. The money was a struggle. And if they weren't able to pay Mike Wasn't going to play and but when he did play young Mike was a force to be reckoned and with and soon his abilities transcended his family's financial limitations in the summer of nineteen ninety. When Mike Mike was nine he was selected to join the red wings? Summer All star team. This honor was a highlight after years of hard work but the consequences says of Mike joining the All star team would be drastic because during a game. Against the vaunted Brampton all stars Mike caught the eye of the opponent's head head coach twenty-three-year-old David Frost by the time their paths crossed. Frost had already built up something of an unsavory reputation in the hockey community. He was brash. Rude and intimidating. He had a hard time keeping a coaching job down because he liked to bend the rules as far as he could yet frost walked around with swagger and intimidation that instilled confidence in his players. His coaching methods were unquestionable. It was well known that his teams engaged in more fighting than average but at the end of the day his players one despite his boorish Risk Behavior Frost was a hockey savant when frost laid eyes on Mike during that summer tournament he saw a wildly undisciplined player with raw raw passion and talent. Frost loved it. He immediately tried to recruit Mike for a new team. He was getting ready to coach the Toronto Young Young Nationals but Steve Jefferson had reservations. Sure Mike wasn't getting a ton of playing time with the red wings but they were the best team in the league. Why leave a good situation? But Frost was relentless. He even promised to make Mike the team captain still. Steve wouldn't budge. However as the next couple of seasons went on both Mike and his father grew frustrated with the lack of ice time even though the team was winning Mike? Mike Wasn't contributing and for Mike. It was hindering his ability to develop into an NHL worthy talent finally in Nineteen ninety-three. Steve let twelve year old. Mike Join Frost's young nationals. Unfortunately Frost had already recruited. Mike's Longtime Friend Sheldon Keefe and made him the captain but he would make Mike the Alternate. It was obvious to the Jeffersons that frost didn't care about donations or youth league politics politics. He seemed genuinely interested in developing the most talented kids into pros that summer. Frost decided to make Mike his Special Project. He pushed him harder than any coach before Mike Begin to skate. Better pass cleaner and his accuracy improved and for Mike a rejuvenated even added sense of worth enjoy entered him before the start of the season. But it wasn't just MIC skills that frost transformed almost immediately. He began to wedge himself between Mike and his family during an early season game in Buffalo. Mike crashed into the boards. Hard hard for close to thirty minutes. Mike laid on the ice crying out. His back was in pain. After being taken into the locker rooms mike was joined joined by his distraught. Father in hockey parents are not allowed in the locker room. Only players and coaches Steve was committing a grave sin suddenly frost came barreling in. He yelled at Steve Demanding to know why he was in the locker room in. Its for Mike. He wanted to know why he was in the locker for room and not with his team. He demanded that Mike put his helmet on and get back on the ice. Mike obeyed his coaches orders. Steve was shocked but said nothing. He watched Mike leave even though he was in pain as Steve Jefferson tells Steve Simmons in the loss dream. I gave him that power over my son. I let him decide. I got caught up in the game. It was one of the first moves. Frost made take control of the young hockey prospect. Mike and Steve gave in wholeheartedly. They both believed that frost would be Mike Ticket to the NHL unbeknownst to them the consequences of this choice would have a tragic effect coming up. Mike's Junior hockey career takes takes off thanks to frost but at the cost of his family now back to the story nineteen ninety-three twelve year old. Mike Danton hinton still going by the last name. Jefferson was finally given permission by his father Steve to play for controversial coach. David Frost almost immediately really upon joining frosts Toronto young nationals. Mike was filled with a renewed motivation with an alternate captain. Title Sewn Onto His Jersey He. It was no longer weeping in his father's arms over the lack of time on the ice specific details. About Mike's time on the young nationals are scarce hairspray but we do know that once frost became his coach his skills improved dementia in Mike Frost Kid who needed guidance and attention. He quickly came to regard Mike like a son in fact not long after he became. Mike's Coach Frost moved with his wife and young daughters. Just down on the street from Jefferson's before long Mike was a constant fixture in their home in frost. Mike saw a father figure and protector her and he needed protection. Mike claims that Steve repeatedly hit him his younger brother Tom and their mothers. Su He says Steve Steve was an angry man and when he drank he was even angrier and violent in a two thousand eleven. ESPN interview. Mike insinuate anyway that his father sexually abused him when he was young. Steve Jefferson maintains that everything Mike says is false. While he doesn't deny that he drank too much and that he would get on my case if he played poorly he vehemently denies ever striking Mike or Sexually abusing him. I'm Steve Blames Frost for much of the verbal abuse. He gave Mike. He claims that if Mike had a bad game frost would tell Steve to give his son Tong. Lashing on the car. Ride home believing that frost had Mike's best interest at heart. Steve followed his advice at the next practice. Frost would would ask Mike if he had gotten a dressing-down from his father after the previous game Mike Marvel that how is coach. Knew exactly what was happening behind. Closed Doors No one realized that David Frost was actually manipulating. The whole family as Mike Got Older frosts presence and influence Lewinsky became even more powerful and soon Mike Was Turning to frost for help in more than just hockey when Mike was Thirteen. He was arrested for shoplifting. Instead of calling his parents from his jail cell he called his coach. When Steve found out he told Mike he was getting kicked out of the House? Does that didn't bother Mike do much because he could just go down the street two frosts Taus according to Toronto Sun reporter Steve Simmons. This became became a pattern in the Jefferson House. Mike and Steve would get into heated arguments and then Mike would run to frost often staying there overnight frost. Ross with throw gas onto the fire by badmouthing Mike's Parents has all of this was going on behind the scenes the Toronto oh no young nationals were dominating on the ice in nineteen ninety six. They won the all Ontario Bantam Championship but whatever momentum a mental Mike and his teammates may have had coming out of the season quickly disappeared on September Twenty Sixth Nineteen Ninety six twenty nine year old. Well David Frost was indefinitely. Suspended from coaching. The Metropolitan Toronto Hockey League ended appeared to be self sabotage going into the next season. The team's top players like Mike and Sheldon Keefe were on the verge of turning sixteen once they did they would move onto the next next level of junior hockey and move on to new teams instead of losing his boys one by one. Frost wanted to make sure he kept them together in order to do so David. Frost allegedly forged the signature of the young nats general manager to release the older players from the team all at once since they were no longer on the Young Nats Frost was able to shop them as a group two teams at the next level a frost and nine that he forged forged the signature. But that didn't matter. He was indefinitely suspended as coach and Mike was no longer a young nat if Mike and the parents really wanted to. They could've found a new team on their own. But Frost was so rooted in a Mike's life that he went wherever the coach told him to go. First Stop was with the Bramley blues however that stint lasted less than ten gains no matter because frost was able to find a new home Toronto about halfway between Toronto and Ottawa. Mike in Brampton boys as they became known joined the the newly created Quincy Hawks before the Brampton boys arrived the Hawks one in four however once Mike and the others joined the team went on an eleven game win streak. It wasn't just because Mike and the hawks were better players. It was because the league they were now in was an outlaw league. Outlaw Leagues are basically basically any league that runs outside of the rules established by Hockey Canada. Basically teams can recruit outside of town jurisdictions charge parents prince exorbitant fees and leagues can make up rules as they go along even though the hockey basics are still enforced. An outlaw league is essentially the Wild West for frost. It meant open season for his players. Mike in the Brampton boys could play as rough and tough as they wanted knowing. There wouldn't be any kind kind of disciplinary action. Fights were constant with the Quincy Hawks both amongst players and in the stands in the thirty five Games Mike played he acquired two hundred eighty one penalty minutes to put that into perspective. Hockey's greatest enforcer. Dave Schultz holds the record for most penalty. Eighteen minutes in a single season at four hundred. Seventy two and that was over the course of seventy six games but if Mike and his team played rough it's because frost told them to and on the bench. Frost was rough with his team as well during the ninety six ninety seven in playoffs. Frost had grown frustrated with Mike's Hotel. Room Mate Darrell. Tiburon Frost anger boiled over and he punched the twenty year old. Tiburon the jaw right in front of a couple of off duty. Police Officers Frost was arrested and charged with assault ultimately though he made a deal deal with the authorities and avoid jail time on despite avoiding any serious legal punishment the punch force the League to Suspend Frost from coaching in a remarkable show of solidarity more the power he had over the kids. The Brampton Boys Mike included through the rest of their games in protest and and were quickly eliminated from the playoffs. Mike's time Endesa Rondo was over but Mike didn't see this divorce as a setback. His loyalty wasn't to a team. It was to frost in fact. He trusted his coach even more than his parent. When it came time for Mike to pick an agent he sought out frost for guidance? Instead of Steve and sue in the end he chose Mike Gillis to represent him as his career progressed in nineteen eighteen. Ninety seven at the age of Sixteen Mike Jefferson was drafted by Sarnia sting in the Ontario Hockey League consisting of players between the ages of sixteen and Twenty one the Oh l. is seen as one of the best junior leagues for amateurs hoping to make it into the NHL. Unfortunately Me Sarnia was aware of frost reputation and his influence over Mike. It was immediately apparent that Mike's Mentor was going to continue being a problem. After twelve games the organization traded Mike to the Toronto Saint Michael's Majors Frost decided to make this team his new home despite despite not officially being their coach and in my second season with the Majors Frost managed to convince the team to acquire the rest of the Brampton boys including my best friend Sheldon Keefe. Despite playing well the Brampton boys continued to show their loyalty to frost over. Anyone nells including their actual coaches. Mike was constantly looking for fights and it was obvious that none of the coaches had the power to stop him like Sarnia. The organization was fed up with Frost presence and in January nineteen ninety nine eighteen year old. Mike and the other three Brampton. Two boys were traded to the Berry Colts sixty miles. North of Toronto P- on the next season would be Mike's best. The the colts won the. Oh L. Championship in over the season. Mike Accumulated Forty. One goals sixty nine assists and one hundred and ten points as well last three hundred and ten minutes in the penalty box. Mike's Aggressive play encouraged by frost led him to become increasingly arrogant. Both on and off the ice. It all came to a head at the two thousand Memorial Cup a round robin tournament that's considered to be the championship of the Canadian Hockey League as winners of the Oh L. Championship. The Barrie colts were automatically invited to play lead by the Brampton Boys. The very colts were completely undisciplined and pompous and Mike Jefferson was one of the worst offenders in one game. Mike belittled a future pro player Ramsey a bead and another Mike God into such a bad fight that he was objected from the game in the lead up to the championship game. Mike spent his time. trash-talking trash-talking one of his opponents. Brad Richards when the colts lost six who mike refused to shake richards. Hand this act of poor sportsmanship. Sportsmanship became the talk of the tournament and followed both Mike and Richard for years. But thanks to David Frost US Tutelage Mike was able to brush off any criticism of his antics especially during the Memorial Cup instead he turned his full attention to showing the NHL he was ready to become a pro for the last three years. Mike had made sure that. NHL Team saw him as an intense gritty in dedicated player with Frost whispering in his ear off the Ice Mike knew that going into the two thousand entry draft. He was going to be a top prospect. Maybe not a first rounder but easily a second so it was a major personal disappointment when his name wasn't called until the fifth round by the New Jersey devils but that disappointment subsided when it finally hit him that he nineteen year old. Mike Jefferson was officially a pro hockey player after dedicating his entire life to hockey and putting his complete trust in David Frost Mike. Jake had made it. Since he was such a late pick. There was still a long road to actually playing the devil's but he had the chance to prove himself and he wasn't going to waste it as for David Frost. He felt like a proud father when he heard Mike's name called for ten years he had devoted himself to molding Mike into the best hockey player he could be required him to drive a wedge between Mike and his family but it paid off. Mike was a pro but the good times would quickly come to an end and soon the pressure to excel. How would get into Mike's head coming up? Mike finds himself in the middle of a disturbing incident with his younger brother and his era than in antics make it hard for him to succeed in the NHL. Now back to the story in June two thousand nineteen year old Mike. Jefferson was drafted in the fifth round by the New Jersey devils with the help of his Brash Coach and Mentor thirty-three-year-old David Frost Mike AAC was now a pro hockey player a well. Mike and Frost were closer than ever. Mike's relationship with his family had all but disintegrated his father Steve. Steve was elated when he heard that his son was drafted but when he finally got a chance to congratulate him in person might merely said. Thank you before leaving the House and returning to frost this distance extended to the rest of Mike's Family. Mike's younger brother. Tom was thirteen gene when Mike Got Drafted and even though Mike was hardly around. Tom Still couldn't help himself from idolizing him when they were much younger. Mike would play with Tom Tom as any older brother would but lately it seemed like Mike had no use for Tom Marino. Long after Mike was drafted Mike invited his younger brother on a trip to frost cabin with the coach. And some of Mike's old teammates. Steve Jefferson who had seen his son's drift apart thought that it was a good chance chance for the two to reignite their relationship. But what should have been a fun. Bonding experience turned into two nightmarish weeks of torture. What follows is told from Tom's point of view in the Book The Lost Dream Mike Frost and the rest involved have all been silent silence on the matter throughout the trip frost in the older boys berated and vilified Tom they got him so drunk that he would pass us out not remembering what happened the night before from what he did remember? Frost constantly criticized. Stephen Sued Jefferson calling them. Both both pathetic drunks. Tom Tried to defend his parents and look to Mike for Backup but Mike who had already fallen for frost manipulation only only stared at his brother. apathetically it wasn't just verbal abuse. Tom Faced but sexual abuses well over the course of the trip. Frost tried to force Tom into losing his virginity to some of the players girlfriends or made him dance around in his underwear. Who One night Tom? I'm was duct tape naked to his bed all the while everyone was laughing and taking pictures. It's unclear if Mike was personally involved in this It is clear though that he did nothing to stop it after two weeks of abuse. Tom Wanted nothing more than for all of it stop. He began to think that if he just went along with it Mike would respect him even then. Tom Realized perhaps Mike had to go through similar abuse news. Perhaps because Mike had spent years with his coach and his teammates he was numb to anything. Frost demanded a few months. Slater pictures of Tom's abuse were discovered. It's Sheldon Keefe. Parents House when the pictures were passed onto Steve Ensue Jefferson. Neither could believe what they saw their thirteen year old son naked and being laughed at by my ex coach and friends when confronted by both the Jeffersons and and the police Mike said Tom Participated in the hazing out of his own volition with his teammates. Telling the same story. No formal charges were wherever made. The jeffersons were heartbroken and outraged and finally dawned on Steve That frost may not be the man he thought auty was from Mike. It was more less than nail in the coffin in his relationship with his parents in two thousand eleven. ESPN special report art. Mike said that the only reason Stephen Sue went to the police was because Mike refused to give his father money. It was all an attempt to create a divide between clean him in frost in reality. It was the complete opposite when Mike officially signed with the New Jersey devils it was for over one million dollars others with a seventy five thousand dollars signing bonus. Frost got an into Mike's head that his father wanted to take some of the money to cover tax payments. Steve didn't know about any of this until the cabin incident investigation. He denied that he wanted. Mike's Money but the damage was already done. Mike was ready to sever ties with his family. Were the cabin incident in his rear view mirror. Mike turned all of his attention towards towards his first professional season hockey during his first training camp. Mike and Press the coaches in the organization especially general manager Lou Lamoriello but like almost all late drafted rookies. He was sent to the devils affiliate minor league team the Albany River Rats when Mike Mike was told about the transfer he was less than pleased but he sucked it up and devoted himself to getting back to New Jersey as quickly as possible that first season with the river rats was a disaster. Almost from the start. Mike was constantly asking about his time on the ice and questioning which line he was being placed on things. That rookies are supposed to keep silent about coaches noticed that whenever practices or games ended Mike was on his phone and many believed he was talking with Frost. Mike played sixty nine of the seasons. Eighty Games in that time. He scored nineteen goals fifteen assists and thirty four point but he racked up one hundred ninety five penalty minutes as well for two games in February might got his shot at playing with the devils in those two games. He spent almost as much time in the penalty box as he did on the ice. It was obvious he wasn't ready but the devils hoped that during the offseason they could turn his attitude around. The higher ups loved his passion and even though Mike may have felt like he was wasting his time in Albany he showed up to training camp in two thousand one ready to play once again. Mike was outstanding during training but in the middle of the preseason the world was shocked by the events of September eleventh when the Jeffersons learned of the attacks they he immediately feared for my safety. They weren't sure if their son was in the city when it happened for that matter. They weren't even sure whether he was in New Jersey or in Albany their fears were amplified by the lack of communication coming from Mike finally after a few days. Steve got a hold of his son. Mike Mike told Steve that he was busy and that he would talk to him later. Mike never called Steve Back and as of late two thousand twelve. Those were the last words ever spoken between the two. MIKES FOCUS was getting ready for the upcoming season but at some point during the preseason. He suffered a major setback. He tore his oblique muscle. The devils decided to send Mike back to Albany to recover. Once he was ready to play again. He'd get some ice time with the river rats before finally joining the devils. Mike hated this plan on the last day of Training Camp General Manager Lou Lamoriello met with Mike to explain the situation. All the organization wanted was for Mike to get healthy and be the at his best. All the details would be ironed. Out with Mike's Agent Mike Gillis but Mike informed Lamwo that Gillis no longer worked for him if the GM wanted to talk about Mike's contract he'd have to talk to his new agent. David Frost when the meeting ended law Morello called hauled Gillis to let him know he had been let go. Gillis was completely taken aback to learn he had been fired and that he hadn't even heard the news from Mike. After that Confrontation Mike and Frost flew out to California to get a second opinion on the injury in doing so mike failed to report Albany Albany at the start of the season and as the days ticked away. He still didn't show up to play Lula. Morello saw no other option. He suspended ended Mike for the entire two thousand one two thousand two season after learning this mike arrogantly told a reporter that he wasn't going to drink lose is cool aid but the season off served as a period of reflection for Mike. It seemed as if his time off the ice may have humbled him perhaps frost to saw the suspension as a learning experience in July. Two Thousand Two at the age of twenty one. Mike marked the transformation by I legally changing his name to Michael Sage Danton. The name didn't seem to have any particular significance. Danton was the name of a kid might played played. Youth Hockey with an sage appears to be chosen at random but the underlying reasoning does have significance. Mike was making a statement. He no longer wanted anything to do with his family. Stephen sued didn't discover the name change until later that year while reading about their son on paper with a new name Mike went into training camp. Ready to prove that he wasn't the punk kid. He had been the year before he was more disciplined and and ready to put the team above himself. General Manager Lou. Lamoriello was impressed so much so that he made the call. Mike would start the new season and wearing a New Jersey Devils Jersey. Mike quickly earned a reputation as a pest unlike goons whose job is to get into fights. Hockey pests throw off their opponents with psychological warfare whether it's through trash talking or minor penalties like slashing and Hooking King. The pests job is to get into a player's head particularly the opposing goalie but Mike did more than just agitate goalies. He scored gorge on them on October. Twelve two thousand two the devils faced off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in their home opener by the middle of the first period. The blue jackets were up one nothing in the thirteenth minute. Mike received a pass from teammate. Turner Stevenson with the PUCK and his control. Mike Saba perfect lane and launched it. The puck sailed through the air and right past the blue jackets goalie mark. Dennis it was Mike's first professional goal. The devils would go on to win three two two but the honeymoon period quickly ended the moment. Mike stepped off the ice. He was always on the phone the same as before. His teammates found it hard to connect with him soon. It was becoming such a distraction that the organization stepped in after Seventeen Games with the devils. Mike was sent back to Albany once again. Mike ignored the order and flew to California while he was away and self imposed exile. David Frost did his duty as an agent and tried to work out a trade with Lula Morello through their conversations sations Morella was able to get a sense of how much control frost had over. Mike's Career and his life frost would become highly volatile and abusive on the phone. And when Mike and La Morello spoke privately Morello got the feeling that frost was dictating. What Mike should say On June twenty first two thousand three law Morello gave in and traded Mike to the Saint Louis Blues in True Mike Fashion he allegedly Jalili sent law Morello. The puck scored his first goal with. It was a symbolic gesture to divorce himself from the team just as he did with his family family when he changed his name the move to Saint Louis changed everything for Mike. Damn he finally got the ice time he desperately craved and played in sixty sixty eight out of eighty two games that we only scored seven goals his time in the penalty box dropped to one hundred forty one minutes and most importantly unle. Mike seemed to have a new lease on life. According to Blues head coach Mike Kitchen the team. New All about Mike's off the ice problems especially especially the mysterious phone calls after practice in games but kitchen like Lula. Morello wanted to make Mike part of the Blues Family. Mike seem to want that to. He got along with teammates in Saint Louis much better than he did in New Jersey but what no one knew not even frost was what is it. Mike was beginning to struggle internally whether it was his own newfound sense of success or pressure from frost and not waste another chance chance Mike was becoming anxious and soon paranoid. This period of Mike's life is all fairly murky Mike in an interview view with. ESPN says that a mixture of painkillers stimulants uppers and downers are what made him paranoid and brought out his inner demons. It's unclear exactly when he began mixing these drugs but prescription. Painkillers aren't uncommon in the hockey world. Where players are injured every day? It's easy to see how an innocent pill for pain management could have spiraled into an addiction then to keep himself energized. uppers came into the mix taking any the drugs are meds without a doctor's supervision can have serious side effects combining them only amplifies the risk and for a young athlete in a high pressure career who has just been moved halfway across the continent with little in the way of social support. It's unsurprising that the drugs sent him into a dark spiral. Mike managed to hide this internal conflict from everyone especially his team. In fact coach kitchen claims that by the time the two thousand four playoffs started started. Mike was more outgoing and actually making friends with his team. But unbeknownst to all of them it was right before the playoffs in April the Mike Sancta his lowest. He had become convinced that someone was trying to kill him. It's unclear when or why this idea came into his head Ed but the feeling completely took hold of him instead of focusing his attention on his first ever. NHL Playoff series. He was consumed with thoughts. It's of death and of the Hitman. He believed was after him. In Mike's head there was only one way to survive. Kill all the man who hired the Hitman and so in early April two thousand four Mike Danton began plotting a murder his target David Frost. Thanks again for listening to sports criminals. Next week we'll explore Mike Danton attempt to kill his mentor and agent. David Frost among the many sources. We used we found the loss. Dream by Steve Simmons to be helpful in our research. You can find all episodes of sports criminals and all other podcast originals for free the on spotify not only does spotify already. Have all of your favorite music but now spotify make an easy for you to enjoy all your favorite par- cast originals like sports criminals for for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream sports criminals on spotify. Just open the APP tap browse and type sports criminals in the search bar. And don't forget to follow us on facebook and Instagram at Parkas and twitter at podcast network. We'll see you next time. Sports Criminals was created by Max Cutler is is a production of Cutler. Media and is part of the park has network it is produced by Maxon Ron Cutler sound design by Andy Weights with production assistance by Ron Shapiro Paul Lieber Skin and Carly Madden.