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Danton cleared to attend St. Mary's; expected to play hockey

TSN.ca Staff

1/12/2010 12:08:58 PM

Former NHL player Mike Danton is preparing to make a return to the ice.

Danton has been cleared by his by parole board and given permission to move to Nova Scotia.

The 29-year-old has been cleared by the president of St. Mary's University to enroll at the school and has signed up for three courses, making him a full-time student. The forward is expected to play hockey for the university.

"This is a unique opportunity to prove that a university can offer someone a second chance, whether they have been challenged economically, socially or by other circumstances. I am proud to be associated with Saint Mary's University and the role we are playing in this case," said SMU Athletic Director Steve Sarty on Tuesday.

Danton took extension courses at Queen's University and enters SMU with a 70% academic average.  He also took correspondent courses at SMU while he was in prison, so technically he was already enrolled in the student body.
 
Sarty told TSN that it was a tough decision to admit the former NHL player.

"I thought long and hard about it,” Sarty said Monday.  "I've had a few sleepless nights about it. I've done a lot of research on the situation and I think people deserve a second chance.

"If we say no to Mike Danton, who are we going to say yes to?”

SMU head coach Trevor Steinburg told the Halifax Chronicle Herald that he also had to think long and hard about bringing a player with Danton's considerable baggage to the Huskies.

"Initially I was very hesitant," Steinburg told the Chronicle Herald.  "But I was challenged by my players [to accept Danton] for all the right reasons."

Steinburg continued, telling the Chronicle Herald that he believes that Danton has paid his debt to society and that he is ready to help him get on with his life.

"There's no question it's the right thing to do. He has paid the price for a mistake he's admitted was a huge mistake. He's already been punished for it."

Danton pleaded guilty in 2004 in the U.S. in a failed murder-for-hire plot that allegedly targeted David Frost, Danton's mentor and agent. Danton was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison in 2004. He served five years of his sentence in the U.S. before being transferred to a Kingston, Ontario facility last March, when he reached full parole eligibility.

He was released from prison last September and remains on parole until Jan. 21, 2011. The native of Brampton, Ontario cannot travel between provinces until he is granted special permission.