Monday, December 19, 2011

Mike Danton signs in Znojmo

On Saturday, Orli Znojmo of the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga announced the signing of Mike Danton. The 31-year-old native of Bramption, Ontario will spend the remainder of the season with the South Moravian club.

Danton skating for IFK Ore. Photo:
Danton, a fringe NHLer with the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues, attracted international attention in 2004 when he was arrested and later sent to prison in a murder-for-hire scheme that allegedly targeted his agent, David Frost

After being released in 2009, he attended St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he led the Huskies to the Canadian university hockey championship. Last summer, he signed with IFK Ore in Sweden's third-tier league. On September 20, he returned to the headlines when he saved the life of linemate Marcus Gustafsson, who hit his head on the ice and began convulsing after being hit. 

Znojmo head coach Martin Stloukal, a former player agent, represtented Patrik Eliáš at the same time both he and Danton played for New Jersey. “I've known Mike since my time with the Devils a few years ago,” Stloukal said on the club's website. “I am sure he will be a great addition to the team.”

A familiar face like Stloukal is helpful for a player going to an atmosphere where little English will be spoken. The coach isn't the only one he knows, though. "Fortunately Petr Kanka is here, who played with my best friend in Kitchener in the OHL, and I know that he can speak English well. So I think all comments to me should be directed through Petr," chuckled Danton.

The EBEL, which is the highest tier of hockey in Austria and the eighth-ranked league in Europe, represents the highest calibre of hockey that Danton has played since leaving the NHL. Orli Znojmo, who are currently ninth in the 11-team circuit, are the only Czech club and one of five non-Austrian clubs in the league. 

When asked how he will contribute to his new team, he answered: "I will play my game, try to create chances, backcheck, play hard, skate. If an opponent goes at our players or if he attacks our goalie, you'll probably see me in a scuffle. But I will not chase players down the ice like an idiot just because I want to fight."

Danton's entire interview with Lukáš Peroutka can be found in Czech on Orli's website.

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