Blazing a New Trail

The Coventry Blaze have signed former NHL player Mike Danton. The Blaze are looking to return to the top of the EIHL standings, and get back to the playoff weekend. Any guy who has NHL ability is of course a great signing in the Elite League – and Danton will be a fan favourite in Blaze country.

Mike Danton will bring skill and toughness to Coventry. Photo Courtesy - ctv.ca

Danton played in 92 career NHL games with New Jersey and St. Louis. He is a gritty, skilled guy, who had 184 penalty minutes in the NHL. He has also played for St. Mary’s University, and split time in Sweden and Austria last year. The big story here is of course his past brushes with the law, and his time in prison for those indiscretions.

Everyone deserves a second chance – and the hockey world embraces that. I had the pleasure of talking to Coventry Head Coach Paul Thompson about his new signing:

Murph – I know you’re busy Thommo – so thanks for taking the time to join me on the website.

Paul Thompson – No problem Murph, thanks for having me on.

Murph – Mike Danton certainly has the skills to succeed in the EIHL – what do you think is his best attribute that he brings to the Blaze next season?

Thommo – I’m looking to have a far more feisty, gutsy team next year and Mike will bring this every night to our hockey club . His attitude and commitment added to the fact he can play was a major factor. He’s the type of player that is very much admired here in Coventry.

Murph – Mike has said that he is coming to Coventry to win hockey games – do you see him as a  leader for the Blaze and the blue-print you have in mind to return to the top of the league and playoffs?

Thommo – We have lost some very good experienced British players, but I’m looking to improve the quality of our imports, who have experience and will help bring on our talented group of young players. The teams’ that have won many trophies here are the ones that relied heavily on the quality of our top players, with a good supporting role from our Brits. Mike wants to win, it’s that simple, and I have been very impressed with his passion and desire, so he totally fits into our blue-print of winning hockey games and it’s about building a team with the same attitude. He will be a leader for us no doubt!

Murph – Everyone deserves a second chance – did you have any hesitation in bringing Mike on board knowing his history and past demons?

Danton played in 92 NHL games for New Jersey and St. Louis. Photo Courtesy - sbnation.com

Thommo – As a GM – Head Coach when recruiting, it’s very hard to look any further back than 2-3 seasons, as it’s current form you are recruiting a player for. All the information I got back from St Mary’s, Sweden, and his time in the Austrian league is first class, great reports about him as a person and player. Mike will improve our hockey club.

I am well read on Mike’s history, there is no getting away from that, and I’m very confident in him as a player and human being. In my 20 years of coaching you face many challenges, and  I see this as a great opportunity for Mike and Coventry, and so does he!

Murph – What can Elite League fans expect from the former NHL’er once he steps on the ice for Coventry?

Thommo – A great player who plays with an edge and a huge desire to win!

Murph – Has Mike had many questions for you on the level of play – and the differences of life and playing on this side of the pond? Do you foresee any major adjustments for him?

Thommo – One of the big things that Mike impressed me on was how diligent and informative he was on the league and Coventry. We had many discussions on many subjects of our team, the league, and the UK and I like that!

I think Mike will take the subtle differences in his stride regarding the small differences here.

Murph – Thanks as always Thommo – I’ll see you in Coventry for the season opener.

Thommo – You’re welcome anytime Murph!

You can follow Murph on Twitter @MurphOnIce

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