‘I’m Glad I Went to Prison’
He entered school with vague ambitions of returning to his previous career, that of a grinding forward in the NHL. Although he still would one day like to play professional hockey again, now his long-term goal is to earn a Ph.D. in psychology. His professors say that’s no pipe dream. “He’s an absolutely outstanding student. He handed in a paper that I can freely say is one of the best I’ve gotten in my years of teaching,” says St. Mary’s psychology professor Lucie Kocum, who taught Danton’s research methods course. “He has a self-exacting approach, but he brings this exuberance to class.”
Is it too simplistic, Danton is asked, to assume that he’s enthralled with psychology because of everything he’s been through?
“Yeah,” he says. “But if I were you, I’d put it in the story anyway. I mean, how can you not?”
Mike Danton recalls clearly the moment he hit rock bottom. In April 2004 the fourth-line center for the St. Louis Blues sat crying on the upper bunk of a Santa Clara (Calif.) County jail cell. He was 23 years old and had been charged with a felony less than two weeks earlier. The internal chaos born from his disjointed and dysfunctional childhood had erupted in spectacular fashion. “And now I’m thinking, I’m f——-, I’m never going to be able to play hockey again. And then it’s like, Who’s going to give me a chance to be their husband, to get close to their family?”
By L. Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated