Mike Danton tried to hire two different people to murder his agent, David Frost. The first, a strip club bouncer, ignored the hockey player’s frantic phone messages. (“Help me out any way you can, please,” Danton said in one voice mail. “It’s a matter of life and death.”) The second would-be hit man—a police dispatcher, of all things—tipped off the FBI. Danton was arrested on April 16, 2004, just three days after scoring his first and only NHL playoff goal.
Behind bars and on the brink of suicide, the St. Louis Blues forward spent hours on the prison telephone, talking to the one man who had always been in his corner: David Frost, the same person he conspired to kill.
“Do I have to worry about my safety anymore?” Frost asked during one conversation, recorded by authorities.
“No you don’t,” Danton answered. “I gotta go.”
“Okay, do you love me?” Frost asked.
“Yes,” Danton whispered.
“I love you.”
How Mike Danton arrived at that moment—professing love for a man he desperately wanted dead—is a mystery many journalists have tried to unravel over the past seven years. The Lost Dream, by Toronto Sun columnist Simmons, is the most exhaustive attempt yet. Based on dozens of interviews, court transcripts—and a few wild rumours—Simmons crafts a chilling account of how a 12-year-old budding hockey star from Brampton, Ont., fell so deep under David Frost’s spell that homicide became his only escape.
Neither Frost nor Danton agreed to speak to Simmons, and both have repeatedly refuted the U.S. government’s version of events. (They now claim that the real target of Danton’s murder-for-hire plot was his estranged father, not Frost.) The truth, of course, is obvious to anyone who reads the court file—or listens to those prison recordings. But as the book makes clear, in David Frost’s world, only one opinion matters.