Mike Danton’s Journey
Former NHLer, ex-convict and now father of 3.
After reading countless articles and watching numerous documentaries, I was so honoured to have met with one of the most inspiring athletes in the world.
Michael Stephen Jefferson, now known as Mike Danton was born on October 21, 1980 in Brampton, Ontario. Many hockey heroes have interesting stories, Danton’s however is like no other. For the majority of young hockey players and athletes having fun is the sole reason for playing the game. This wasn’t the case for Danton.
Dantons’s father Steve Jefferson was extremely violent and abusive throughout Danton’s upbringing. “If I scored once, I’d come home and get beat because I should’ve scored twice. If I scored twice, I’d come home and get beat because I should’ve scored three times. It was never good enough.” Mike Danton explained. Quickly distancing himself from his father, the hockey star began to become very close with his coach at the time ‘David Frost’. After spending more and more time together Frost acted as a mentor/father figure to Danton and as his hockey career continued Frost became his advisor.
After an impressive junior hockey career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), in 2000 Danton was drafted 135th overall in the NHL draft to the New Jersey Devils. After playing professional hockey for a few years, Danton felt the need to disassociate himself from the Jeffersons. In 2002, he decided to change his name. Soon after, becoming a Danton, he was traded from New Jersey to St. Louis where he played with the St. Louis Blues through the 2003-2004 season.
Progressively, the professional athlete began to hate hockey, however he happened to be good at and sought it to be a job more than anything. Danton’s childhood stuck with him as he aged and some decisions were made that changed Danton’s life.
On April 16, 2004, two days after the Blues were eliminated from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, Danton was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire. On July 16, 2004, Danton pleaded guilty to attempting to hire a hitman to kill whomever was in his apartment. The hitman he attempted to hire however was actually a police dispatcher. Obviously, Mike Danton was not in a proper head space and he served nearly six years in jail. After being released from jail, Danton had learned a lot and had a ton of life experience under his belt. Danton was fortunately accepted to Saint Mary’s University where he not only brought their hockey team to a CIS National Championship but also graduated from SMU with a 4.17 GPA double majoring in Psychology and Criminology.
Now, Danton is the father of 3 young children and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia with his wife. The 38 year old travels to Fredericton, New Brunswick weekly to attend UNB as he completes his Masters in Sports Psychology along with helping out their high performing athletic sports teams. Danton is aiming to help those who are mentally struggling and help them before they make a life changing decision such as he did.
Mike Danton continues to encounter struggles in his day to day life because he has a record, however he battles day in and day out. Mike is an extremely inspiring human being.