Hockey Headlines

Saturday, 6 September 2008

A Frosty Saga

I'm pretty certain that the latest idea that David Frost, pictured to the left, has come up with is one of the dumbest things that I have ever heard. With training camps preparing to open in the NHL, former player agent David Frost has been granted permission to leave Canada to attend the training camp of the Phoenix Coyotes while out on bail as he awaits his October trial on sexual exploitation charges. This is the same David Frost who was the target of Mike Danton's murder-for-hire plot that Danton was convicted of in 2004. It escapes words how stupid this decision is, but I'll try to frame it appropriately for those of you tuning in. It starts with "banned from all arenas", mixes in a little "not allowed contact with hockey players at any age level", and ends with "in prison".

Coyotes GM Don Maloney has made it crystal-clear that he does not want to see Frost anywhere near the Coyotes' training camp, and I agree with Maloney wholeheartedly. It was reported that Frost would be checking in on Adam Keefe, the younger brother of Sheldon Keefe, who Frost once represented as he made his way through the Coyotes' camp.

"I can't be strong enough about this, we don't want any part of David Frost," Maloney told the Toronto Sun. "He is not welcome here. This is the first I've heard about this, but I can tell you without a doubt, I don't want him here, we don't want him here, he will not be allowed here."

Again, I cannot argue with Maloney. David Frost should not be allowed any contact with any NHL player in any manner. I cannot stress this enough. The details of the Mike Danton case have been outlined, but it needs to be reviewed for this new development.

I'll start with the Danton case. Mike Danton scored his first NHL playoff goal in 2003-04 for the St. Louis Blues against the San Jose Sharks in a 4-3 Game Four loss at home. That loss put San Jose up 3-1 in the series between the two teams before San Jose eliminated the Blues in five games in the opening round series. The 23 year-old's summer, though, wouldn't last long.

On April 17, 2004, police arrested Danton in California on charges of plotting to commit a murder. His target? His agent - Mr. David Frost. Speculation about his upbringing, his friends, and his life turned into rumours of homosexuality, promiscuity, substance abuse, neglect, and child abuse.

Danton's parents had claimed that Frost had corrupted their son. Frost, in response to the accusations, claimed Danton's parents were unfit and that Frost was simply doing what was best for his client. The legal battle between the two sides left Mike Danton clearly in the middle, and Danton pleaded guilty to the murder-for-hire charges despite the protestations of innocence from Frost, his intended target. The result was that Mike Danton, a 23 year-old NHL player, was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in a US federal prison on November 8, 2004.

Why would an NHL player plot to kill his agent? According to police, Danton and 19 year-old Katie Wolfmeyer attempted to hire a man to kill an "unnamed acquaintance" who Danton had an argument with earlier.

The "acquaintance" turned out to be David Frost, and the argument was over Frost approaching St. Louis Blues GM Larry Pleau with information that would "ruin his career". The $100,000 hit was to have Frost killed in his St. Louis apartment in an apparent botched robbery.

"Out of anyone that I've known in hockey, I could see something wacky coming from that guy. You could see he was a time bomb ticking," said Ryan O'Keefe, Danton's former teammate on the Barrie Colts. "I feel sorry for him though, I wouldn't wish this on anyone."

The problem is that while Frost maintains that "the truth will come out in court", there will never be a trial regarding Danton's actions after he pleaded guilty, so the mystery surrounding this entire case will remain. Katie Wolfmeyer was acquitted of all charges, leaving only Danton serving time in prison. Frost, meanwhile, is out on bail as he awaits the October trial date.

So what do we know about David Frost?

John Gardner, president of the Greater Toronto Hockey League, told the Toronto Star that Frost "practiced mind control". Danton's parents had little say in his life, while Frost seemingly controlled his day-to-day activities. Eventually, around the age of 16, Danton cut his parents out of his life altogether.

"Since Michael was 15 years old, Michael has never said a word that came out of his own mind," Stephen Jefferson, Danton's father, said to the CBC. "He's just a tape recording. It was his words and [Frost's] thoughts."

Danton changed his name in 2002, and continues to be estranged from his parents from what he describes as a "very troublesome" upbringing. He claimed that he endured "constant physical and emotional abuse" as a child, and was raised in filth without basic necessities. Friends and family members of the Jeffersons state that they are unaware of any of this.

"I'm really hurt by it. His mother will be floored," Mr. Jefferson said. "That's Dave Frost talking. It hurts the family to hear that type of nonsense from him. But it just shows how badly Mike needs help."

"The most confounding aspect of the Frost-Danton relationship is the never-changing issue of control," said Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun columnist, on Danton's allegations towards his parents. "The words Danton spoke on a prison telephone line sounded robotically like Frost speaking himself. The tone and intonation was Frost. The attempt at shifting the story was pure Frost."

Frost shrugs off these allegations. "If having too much influence means my players go to school, they maintain 75-plus averages, they work hard in games, they don't stay out at night, they never break curfew - if that means too much influence, then I'm guilty," he told the Toronto Sun in a 1999 interview. He also maintains that the FBI lied in their reports about Frost being the target of Danton's plot.

Here's what we know to be true about the 41 year-old former agent.

The CBC reports that "[b]efore becoming a player agent, Frost spent several years coaching minor and junior hockey. His tenure as a bench boss was not without controversy, however, as he pleaded guilty to assault charges and was barred by the Ontario Hockey Association and suspended by the Metropolitan Toronto Hockey League (now known as the Greater Toronto Hockey League) within a four-season span."

"During the 1995-96 season, Frost was suspended indefinitely by the Metropolitan Toronto Hockey League 'for being party to the falsification of documents', according to a league document. He was coaching the Toronto Red Wings at the time and, allegedly, the signature of general manager Terry Weir was forged on player-release forms. The league found Frost guilty by association."

"In April 1997, less than seven months after the MTHL suspension, Frost was charged with assaulting one of his players, Darryl Tiveron, while serving as an assistant coach with the Quinte Hawks of the Metro Junior Hockey League. Tiveron later denied the assault took place, but two off-duty police officers say they witnessed the incident and Frost pleaded guilty to assault charges that summer."


Class act, eh? The story takes a weird twist, though, when it appears that Frost had some sort of extreme control over the lives of four players as an agent - Sheldon Keefe, Ryan Barnes, Shawn Cation, and Mike Danton. The term "brainwashing" became synonymous with Frost and his control over these four players. Frost, of course, denied all allegations of brainwashing.

The "Quinte Four", as they were called, played together on the St. Michael's Majors in 1997-98 in the OHL before a controversial trade sent all four of them as a packaged deal to the Barrie Colts in 1999. Management of the Majors franchise didn't approve of the control that Frost had over the players, and decided to rid themselves of the problem.

Are we seeing a pattern of abuse here? He abuses players as a coach, he abuses his power and authority as a coach, and then continues to abuse players as an agent. I don't know if the picture has to be any clearer: this man is a dangerous, manipulative individual, and should not be allowed to have any contact with players whatsoever.

Frost resigned as an agent in December of 2005 and is reportedly no longer involved in junior hockey. He currently faces "12 counts of sexual exploitation and one count of assault involving seven teenagers - four males and three females between the ages of 14 and 16".

Pretty insane stuff, isn't it? But it gets worse! Last week, in a Napanee, Ontario court room, Mr. Justice Geoffrey Griffin of the Ontario Court of Justice ruled that Frost's bail conditions would be amended to allow him to leave Canada to attend Phoenix's training camp.

Yes, you read that correctly. A guy who faces 12 counts of perversion has been allowed by a judge to go back to the world where he committed these offences! How can this happen? Who is this "judge" who clearly has ZERO sense in this matter? What's worse, the NHLPA, who approves agent certification, has stated that Adam Keefe, the player that Frost is going to monitor, has no agent of record. How does a judge allow a non-credentialed, non-approved, disgraced former agent to monitor the progress of a player who has no agent according to his union, the NHLPA?

Don Maloney's reaction to the story is, in my opinion, entirely justified: "This is simple really, if Frost is connected to Adam Keefe, we're through with Adam Keefe. When I was in New York, we had Sheldon for a brief time. And I had a little exposure to this man. I didn't like it. And I don't want anything to do with him now."

Well stated, Mr. Maloney. This man should never be allowed into hockey circles again for any reason. If Graham James can be banned for life from coaching in Canada for his grotesque and disgusting acts, the same should be done with Mr. Frost. Ban him for life. Let him rot in prison.

If anyone cares, his trial date is October 14. I'll be hoping that another judge comes to his or her senses and throw the book at this vile individual.

For more information on the Mike Danton case, I recommend checking out the incredible work done by the CBC and the CBC's fifth estate program. You can find the CBC's work here, along with profiles of Danton and his hockey career, Frost, the "Quinte Four", and reactions from people associated with the case.

The fifth estate's look at the case probes even deeper, and is certainly worth the read as well. You can hear audio tapes and read transcripts of calls between Danton and Frost. You can also watch interviews of some key people who worked on and reported on the case. Also, there are a pile of resources in case you want to go outside the bounds of what I've presented, and what the CBC has on their sites.

A huge thumbs-up goes out to the CBC for their work on this case, and to everyone involved in bringing the story to light.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Brooklyn Hockey Boy said...

Great blog!
I had heard of the Frost-Danton incidents, but I had no idea that Frost's acts went even further back. I agree with you that the judge who has allowed Frost to visit Phoenix is clearly uneducated in Frost's past. And Don Maloney is obviously taking the smart route, and banning Frost from the camp. Good writing, keep it up!