Mike Danton was a tough NHL center who played his last game in April, 2004.

He was actually born Mike Jefferson on October 21, 1980, in Brampton, Ontario. On July 22, 2002 he legally changed his last name to Danton, as that was the first name of a young hockey protégé that he admired. He did it to completely disassociate himself from his family after a falling out. The reason may have recently become apparent.

Mike Danton began his pro career in New Jersey and was not well-liked there. He collected a pair of goals in seventeen games with the Devils and racked up thirty-five penalty minutes, yet, according to New Jersey media and fans at least, those stats did not afford him a good reason to demand a trade and not show up for practice with their minor league team when he was demoted. He was suspended for that, one of the two times he was suspeded by the club.

So traded, he was -- to the St. Louis Blues with a third round selection, 101st overall (Konstantin Zakharov) on June 21, 2003 for St. Louis' third round selection, 93rd overall in the 2003 Entry Draft.

In his junior career, he played three seasons with the OHL in Sarnia, Ontario, where he earned 179 points - 77 of them goals. After that he ended up in New Jersey, as already stated, and then landed in the Gateway City. In the 2003-2004 NHL season, with the Blues, he really began to establish the kind of hockey player he had the potential to become. He had guts, in that he wasn't a "hit and run" type hockey player like the Kirk Maltbys of the league. After he whacks an opposing player he gets up in their face and doesn't back down. He even challenged Todd Bertuzzi once. And he scored a decent amount of goals (7) to boot (decent considering the team as a whole didn't get a lot of goals that season).

Danton picked up a goal in the Blues' game four loss against the San Jose Sharks in round one. The day after the Blues were eliminated in game five, on April 17, 2004, Danton was arrested at Norman Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose, being a suspect in a murder for hire scheme. He and an alleged 19-year-old accomplice Katie Wolfmeyer (who was arrested after bringing the potential killer to Danton's apartment) were charged with trying to hire a hitman to kill a "friend." He denied it, but apparently this "friend" was a homosexual lover of Danton's and was threatening to leave him. He was also rumored to be threatening to go to the team's owners, management, and possibly the media with their relationship.

UPDATES: This friend turned out to be his agent David Frost. Apparently Frost was his agent, roommate, and possible lover. The story gets even more bizarre with the fact that David Frost has repeatedly denied he was the target. Katie Wolfmeyer was acquitted of all charges, convincing the jury, herself, that the FBI set her up.

Stats

These stats could be it, apparently, for his career, as it is doubtful that he will ever play another NHL game. He certainly will not be donning the Bluenote again. Through the 2003-2004 season, Danton has racked up 9 goals, 5 asssists (for a total of 14 points) and 182 penalty minutes in 85 games played. As far as the playoffs are concerned, he's only played that one series mentioned earlier where he netted just one goal and no assists and he spent 2 minutes in the sin bin in those five games. His height is 5'9", he shoots right, and wore #22 for the Blues.

Sources: sfgate.com, stlblues.com, stltoday.com

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