Former NHL player Mike Danton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Clinton County Jail
TORONTO - Former NHL player Mike Danton will likely spend at least several months in Canadian custody even though his time in an American prison for a failed murder-for-hire plot has made him eligible for parole, correctional officials said Wednesday.
Danton, a native of Brampton, Ont., pleaded guilty in November 2004 in a plot that allegedly targeted his former agent, David Frost, and was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in a U.S. federal prison.
The American sentence translates to six years, two months and 14 days, said Holly Knowles, spokeswoman with Correctional Services Canada.
"Essentially, he's subject to Canadian law now, which means there can be changes in terms of the sentencing length," Knowles said. "According to our sentences, he has reached his (parole) eligibility date."
Danton had been petitioning for transfer to a Canadian prison since 2005 and was transferred to an assessment centre in the Kingston, Ont., area on March 19, the date he reached full parole eligibility.
Carol Sparling, a spokeswoman for the National Parole Board, said no dates have been set for a hearing but added a review was automatic given the almost 4 1/2 years Danton served in the U.S.
"When someone is past their full parole eligibility date, the board is required to conduct a hearing - the offender doesn't have to make an application," Sparling said.
Danton could possibly waive his right to parole.
In any event, correctional services would first make a "thorough assessment" of his case for presenting to the parole board.
Such an evaluation could include risk and psychological assessments as well as checking with the community Danton might hope to live in after his release to see what kind of housing or employment supports he might have.
"It does take time to prepare," Knowles said.
"I would definitely say a period of a few months is appropriate."
Danton's plea agreement in 2004 did not identify Frost as the intended victim, and Frost has denied he was the target of the plot. But U.S. prosecutors said in open court that Frost was the man Danton wanted killed.
Frost was acquitted in November at a trial in Napanee, Ont., of the sexual exploitation of two of his young charges, who cannot be named, when he coached the junior A Quinte Hawks, a team that Danton once played for.
In February, he was acquitted in court in Kingston of fraudulently using Danton's credit card.
Danton spent parts of three seasons playing for the St. Louis Blues and New Jersey Devils, and reports say he is considering a return to professional hockey.
In 87 career NHL games, the 28-year-old had nine goals, five assists and 182 penalty minutes.
He was the Devils' fifth-round pick, 135th overall, in the 2000 NHL entry draft.