EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – Former NHL tough guy Mike Danton (search) was sentenced Monday to 71/2 years in prison for trying to have his agent killed.
Danton, 24, said nothing as U.S. District Judge William Stiehl imposed the sentence on the former St. Louis Blues (search) player.
"I do not believe in over 18 years on the bench I have been faced with a case as bizarre as this one," Stiehl said, noting that Danton chose a 19-year-old acquaintance and a police dispatcher as his would-be helpers in the murder plot.
Danton is expected to seek transfer to a prison in his native Canada. As for his hockey career, there is no parole in the federal system and, the judge noted, Danton may not be allowed to return to the United States after completing his sentence.
His contract with the Blues expired after the 2003-04 season.
At the sentencing, Danton's attorney, Robert Haar, apologized on behalf of Danton "for the pain and disappointment he has caused" his teammates and fans.
"His aspiration now is to return to Canada and put his life back together again," Haar said.
Danton pleaded guilty July 16 to murder conspiracy charges. Prosecutors said he tried to hire a hit man to kill David Frost, his agent and Canadian youth hockey coach.
Authorities said Danton and Frost had argued over Danton's alleged promiscuity and alcohol use, and Danton feared Frost would tell the Blues' front office about his behavior.
A jury Sept. 20 acquitted a one-time girlfriend, Katie Wolfmeyer (search), 19, of Florissant, Mo., of charges she took part in the plot. Wolfmeyer claimed she did not know Danton was trying to hire a hit man when she introduced him to an acquaintance, Justin Levi Jones. Prosecutors said Danton offered Jones $10,000 to kill Frost.
The plot unraveled when Jones, a police dispatcher, went to authorities with cell phone recordings of some of his conversations with Danton.
Wolfmeyer was not at the sentencing. "Why do I want to waste my time when this part of my life is over?" she told The Associated Press.