I have to admit that a lot of the books on Teebz's Book Club are fairly tame. There's not a lot of controversy because the subject is usually about something or someone that is in the public eye. Today, however, Teebz's Book Club will be reviewing one of the most controversial books ever written about the sport as we look at The Lost Dream, written by Steve Simmons and published by the Penguin Group. The strange part is that this book is about Mike Danton, David Frost, and the murder-for-hire plot that Danton hatched, but neither Frost nor Danton contributed anything to the book. Instead, we get the other side of the story from the Jeffersons, Mike's biological family, and a number of players and people from the hockey world. The end result leaves you feeling a little rattled, but Mr. Simmons does an excellent job at laying out all the facts that are given from the perspective of everyone that had the fortune, or misfortune, of crossing paths with Frost and Danton.
From the Penguin website, "Steve Simmons is one of Canada’s best known and most provocative sports columnists. His column appears regularly in the Toronto Sun and other Sun Media and QMI publications. His signature Sunday notes column has been called 'the most read page in Canadian journalism.' Author of the bestselling Lanny and contributor to eight other books, Simmons appears regularly on TSN The Reporters with Dave Hodge and That's Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. A minor-hockey enthusiast and longtime coach, Simmons lives outside Toronto with his wife, Sheila, and sons, Jeffrey and Michael."
I have read, listened to, and watched Steve Simmons my entire life, it seems, and I occasionally find his material to be far too self-serving and subjective for my liking. There is no doubt that Mr. Simmons is an excellent journalist, however, and this book is solid proof that Mr. Simmons knows how to research, interview, and compile facts without changing the story. Honestly, the material covered by Mr. Simmons could have been littered with his own personal spin on the story, but the work done in getting The Lost Dream published is a great achievement.
If you're not aware, St. Louis Blues forward Mike Danton tried to hire someone to kill David Frost. The only problem is that Danton reportedly wanted his father, Steve Jefferson, dead despite giving the hitman his address where Frost was staying and Frost's picture. Danton denies that Frost was the target, but it's clear through the research and evidence presented by Mr. Simmons in The Lost Dream that there is a lot more to this story than what Danton and Frost are alleging.
First, let me post this timeline of the events surrounding this bizarre happening. While Mike Danton has apparently escaped the grips of David Frost's insanity, the timeline paints a very scary picture of a man who can only be described as a "predator".
I won't lie about this: I found The Lost Dream difficult to read at times because of the material presented. The stories told through the Jeffersons and others reveals the vast amount of manipulation and fabrication of the truth that David Frost used to change how several young, impressionable men viewed their own families. The portion about Tom Jefferson at David Frost's cottage is perhaps some of the most disturbing writing I have ever encountered in a book about hockey, but it's scarier to think that Tom Jefferson has lived through the trauma to tell his side of the story about his experiences with David Frost.
In saying this, though, Mr. Simmons has done incredible work despite a number of the key individuals in the saga that refused to comment. Mike Danton was not interviewed for the book, and he refused any comment regarding the topic. Mr. Simmons declined to interview David Frost because of the vast amount of lies he has told throughout his life. Hockey names such as Vancouver GM Mike Gillis - a former agent of Danton's - and NHL referee Wes McCauley - brother of David Frost's wife, Bridget - both refused to speak to Mr. Simmons about Mike Danton, David Frost, or the circumstances that surrounded the plot to kill Frost. Former NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow also refused to comment, and he was the man that got Frost into NHL circles!
Said Devils GM Lou Lamoriello about his interactions with Danton and Frost,
"'I don't know if any of us can understand what happened with him and Frost. But unless you've experienced it, even from our end, it's very hard to explain. It's not exaggerated. It was there, very noticeable to our people and our players. The word I would use is bizarre. All my life in hockey, I'd never seen anything like it. The whole experience was just not normal.'"The Lost Dream is definitely for an older crowd in terms of the age demographic that is targeted. While the 255-page book is a good read, it is difficult to digest some of the atrocities that people were put through in their dealings with David Frost. Again, Mike Danton and David Frost were not interviewed for this book, but it is very difficult to deny the allegations and stories that are echoed by many people interviewed by Mr. Simmons.
I was very interested in The Lost Dream when I first was browsing at my local bookstore, and I am very glad that I received it as a gift. The work done by Mr. Simmons is top-notch, and he doesn't slant the story one way or another. He simply lets those involved tell their side of the story if they were willing to speak. For that and for his excellent work in bringing this story to print, The Lost Dream absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval for giving the other people involved in this saga a voice. It was definitely heard by this reader.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!