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The Lost Dream: The Story of Mike Danton, David Frost, and a Broken Canadian Family [Hardcover]

Steve Simmons
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 20 2011

 

Mike Jefferson started out as a suburban kid who dreamed of making it to the NHL, with parents determined to do anything and everything to make their son’s dream come true. So how did this promising young man’s hockey career turn into a harrowing crime story played out in sensational news reports?
 
Coach and agent David Frost fast-tracked Jefferson’s route to the NHL, but at a staggering cost. Along the way, the affable young man turned against his parents, changed his name to Danton, and descended into a spiral of paranoia and violence that finally cut short the career he had sacrificed everything for when he was arrested for conspiracy to commit murder.
 
In this fast-paced and gripping story, veteran hockey journalist Steve Simmons digs beneath the surface to answer questions that have left Canadians shocked and fascinated. How did Frost get such a grip on Danton and his family? How did Frost work himself into such a position of trust in the world of minor hockey? What exactly was Danton’s relationship with Frost? And who was it that Danton hired a hitman to kill—his father or his agent?
 
Full of the insights from one of Canada’s most-trusted hockey columnists, who is intimately familiar with both minor hockey and the big leagues, The Lost Dream is the story of the dark side of our fascination with a game Canadians love.

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Review

“Riveting, stunning…. A powerful cautionary tale.” - Roy MacGregor, The Globe and Mail

“A guaranteed page-turner.” - Leader-Post (Regina)

“Chilling.” - Maclean’s

“A very well researched and disturbing read from cover to cover.” - TheScore.com (A Best in Books 2011 selection

“Profoundly disturbing…. The Lost Dream … [is] a cautionary tale for parents obsessed with making their boys hockey stars, and a serious indictment of hockey culture in general.” - NOW Magazine --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

 

STEVE SIMMONS is one of Canada’s best known and most provocative sports columnists. His column appears regularly in the Toronto Sun and other Sun Media and QMI publications. His signature Sunday notes column has been called “the most read page in Canadian journalism.” Author of the bestselling Lanny and contributor to eight other books, Simmons appears regularly on TSN The Reporters with Dave Hodge and That’s Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. A minor-hockey enthusiast and longtime coach, Simmons lives outside Toronto with his wife, Sheila, and sons, Jeffrey and Michael.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Death of a Dream Dec 28 2011
Format:Hardcover
I must admit I knew most of the stuff in this book from reading the articles Simmons wrote over the years. To be honest he had to stretch things out to make a whole book as he got no input from the key people in the story, Mike Danton and David Frost. The whole thing is depressing. It paints Frost as as essentiallly a sociopath who not only wanted to control Danton to help him be a better player but also distance him completely from his family. This he has succeeded in and has ruined the lives of Danton and his parents in the process. Frost is clearly a sick person but Simmons acknowledges that he did help Danton and others to be quality hockey players. However he did not help them to be quality human beings.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest appraisal of a tragic situation Aug. 10 2013
By GMugford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An awfully tough book for me to read. While the time period in question only merited a few paragraphs at the beginning of the story, I was actually witness to the events that started this tale of tragedy. I covered the young Mike Jefferson in his very youngest years as a sports reporter for a small town weekly. By the time Jefferson was a junior A hockey player, I was working with the club that he and the rest of David Frost's ... what is the right word? ... cult? ... gang? ... acolytes? left (the Bramalea Blues) to move east to the outlaw league Quinte Hawks. So, I know, or at least I thought I knew, the major actors in this sordid tale. I knew the Jeffersons, mostly by reputation. Typical, if maybe more aggressive than some hockey parents. I thought Mike was a decent kid, but most little kids are. And I knew David Frost to be somebody most other people told unsavory tales about. Bluntly, he was not well-liked. I avoided him both professionally and personally. When he and his, let's settle on acolytes, skulked off one night to Deseronto, I remembered campaigning for some legal action. Some of the Blues' officials thought equipment had disappeared at the time. The team owner just was happy to get rid of a bad bunch. Talented, but players the club could do without. And ending Frost's involvement with the team was worth chalking up any losses.

And with that, went the small chance of stopping the events relayed in the book.

There are plenty of victims in the book. Simmons does a good job of identifying Tom Jefferson as possibly the only one who survives inspection, dignity intact. And he's a self-confessed angry man who plays the game of "What If?" and "Might'a Been," wondering how his idol, his older brother Mike, could give up the family name, participate in a hazing/torture of him and eventually get arrested in a murder for hire plot that ended his NHL career ... and still be taped on phone calls from prison telling the man he wanted killed, Frost, that he loved him.

The elder Jeffersons admit to all of their failings, which they share with many, many parents of talented young athletes. They, Steve more than Sue, could have been any of hundreds of parents I encountered in a decade and a half of sports writing. Was there too much drinking? Yes. It happens. Was there too much willingness to turn over their first-born to a coach with the plan to make their boy a professional star? Yes. To their eternal damnation. Because the man they chose was a champion of the separate and divide philosophy of reaching his goals. He turned Mike and several others into a group that moved from team to team and played by his rules. Even when the group was drafted into the Major Junior A hockey ranks, it took almost no time for the players to act up and get traded away, to their communally agreed-on team. And even from there, to yet another team. Again as a group. For Frost, rules meant nothing. Laws meant nothing.

Frost has survived being banned in multiple leagues. Has beat legal action. Had destroyed families where ever he has gone. He is, by my definition, one of the worst things that could happen to any family. And one of his own tried TWICE to have him killed. If evil walks the earth, I have a tough time believing it doesn't act like Frost.

Having all of this baggage reading a book doesn't make for the most joyous of reads. I kept worrying that eventually Simmons would blame the loathsome Frost for everything and declare all members of the Jefferson family victims, even Mike. I was wrong. Simmons wraps up the story with his personal assessment of the cruelties that Mike Danton has visited on his parents. He might very well be a non-dangerous member of society, having done his prison time and gotten a university degree in psychology. But he never will be able to explain away the vile name-calling and cruel communications he had with his mother. Or lack of communications with his much put-upon brother. He cannot escape what he has done to them. He's contemptible.

Frost still lurks out there. This book should be mandatory reading for any hockey parent with a boy (or girl) starting out on their way. That's why this book is worth five stars. It is a public service announcement, a warning about what abdicating your parenting responsibilities can result in. That the boogeyman sometimes look like normal men with melton jackets.

If you have a child you have dreams for, whatever the activity, please read this book.
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Disturbing Nov. 20 2013
By HERE TO HELP - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book only knowing that it was a real life strange tale regarding a professional hockey player. To say that the story was dark and disturbing is a big understatement. Mark this book under the life is stranger than fiction category.
4.0 out of 5 stars good hockey read Sept. 6 2012
By bert27 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
as a rabid hockey fan...i found the book to be very interesting...a sad and disturbing story..i feel bad for mostly all involved
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Dream Aug. 12 2012
By Phil Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a resident of St. Louis and a huge Blues' fan, I was incredibly intrigued by the Mike Danton story. This book is tremendous! The information contained therein is a revelation for this reader. Perhaps, as mentioned by the previous reviewer, this information has been well fleshed out in the Canadian media. Not so down here. I couldn't possibly recommend this book any higher. The vagaries of the Canadian junior hockey system are not well understood here. The narrative contains so much eye opening material. I heard an interview with the author where he said he could have written additional hundred pages about this subject, but was limited by his contract. I would love to have the unabridged edition! So fascinating,I couldn't put it down until I devoured every page.
3.0 out of 5 stars The Dream is Over Dec 28 2011
By Harris Macklin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I should note, I read the book not the kindle version. So I'm just reviewing the book content.

I must admit I knew most of the stuff in this book from reading the articles Simmons wrote over the years. To be honest he had to stretch things out to make a whole book as he got no input from the key people in the story, Mike Danton and David Frost. The whole thing is depressing. It paints Frost as as essentiallly a sociopath who not only wanted to control Danton to help him be a better player but also distance him completely from his family. This he has succeeded in and has ruined the lives of Danton and his parents in the process. Frost is clearly a sick person but Simmons acknowledges that he did help Danton and others to be quality hockey players. However he did not help them to be quality human beings.
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