Mike Danton's hockey future is once again up in the air as his second attempt to attain a visa to play for the Coventry Blaze of the Elite Ice Hockey League has been denied.
A couple of days ago the club were advised by Mike Danton that the UKBA had rejected his second application for a UK entry visa. The initial communication from the UKBA gives no reason for the rejection and full details are provided to the applicant several days later by way of a detailed letter. Neither Mike nor the Blaze have yet seen sight of this detailed explanation and are therefore not in a position to make a full comment as to any potential next steps.
The club had originally not intended to make any statement until we were in possession of all the facts regarding the refusal. But given that the news of Mike's rejection is already in the public domain we wanted to ensure that our supporters are aware of the situation as it currently stands.
Last month, the United Kingdom Border Agency denied Danton's application to enter the country and play for the Blaze. "Hopefully, the powers that be are looking into my case with a little more sympathy and recognizing the changes for the good I have made over the last nine years of my life," Danton wrote on his blog after a second application was filed.
Danton, who spent over five years in prison for a murder-for-hire plot, played last season in the Czech Republic and Sweden, even saving a teammates life. While the 31-year old was waiting for his clearance, the Blaze named him an assistant captain. He remains in Canada, studying toward his degree at St. Mary's University, where he helped lead the Huskies to a national title in 2010.
He appeared on the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast last month to discuss the situation and said that he decision to sign in England instead of going back to the Czech Republic or Sweden was to make life easier for his wife and newborn son.
UPDATE: Danton has penned an entry in his blog stating he and the the Blaze are still awaiting for a full explanation for his denial and that he and the Blaze will decided their next course of action after receiving that information.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy