Former agent Frost found using assumed name
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. – David Frost, the former hockey coach and agent who was banned from multiple leagues in Canada and allegedly was the target of a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by former NHL player Mike Danton, has taken a leadership role at a Southern California hockey training center under an assumed name.
Frost confirmed to Yahoo! Sports he has been using the name Jim McCauley at the Laguna Hockey Academy, as first reported Tuesday by truehockey.com. But Frost, who was acquitted on four counts of sexual exploitation of minors in 2008 in Canada, adamantly denied reports he was “coaching kids.”
“I haven’t moved to California, and I am not living some kind of secret life in hiding,” Frost said in a telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports. “My family and I live in Canada, but every two months I spend a month [in California] under the terms of my contract.”
Frost and his wife – Bridget McCauley, daughter of former NHL referee John McCauley – operate a company called McCauley Development and Demonstration, which conducts custom video analysis for hockey players and advises on training techniques.
Frost said he was hired by Robert Barth, a longtime associate who owns a company called All Motion Hockey Systems that operates out of Laguna Hockey Academy, a state-of-the-art training center for players of all ages that features three synthetic training rinks and a hockey-specific treadmill. He said Barth requested he work under the name McCauley so as to “not detract any attention from the machines.”
Barth did not respond to messages.
When Yahoo! Sports arrived at the Laguna Hockey Academy on Tuesday afternoon, we were told that Frost was not on the premises. Later, we were advised that if we left the premises, “Mr. McCauley” would call us, which he did – announcing himself as “David Frost.”
“McCauley is my wife’s name, and James is my middle name,” Frost said. “Because of the publicity and different things, there have sometimes been times when I don’t want to use my real name. But I will tell you this: I am David Frost. My passport says David James Frost, and any of the 16- to 21-year-olds at Laguna who I worked directly with knew who I was.”
Frost was barred by the Ontario Hockey Association after the 1993-94 season because of his team’s undisciplined play. He was suspended by the Metropolitan Toronto Hockey League for falsifying documents during the 1995-96 season. He pleaded guilty to assaulting one of his players, Darryl Tiveron, while coaching in the Metro Junior Hockey League in 1997. He was charged with four counts of sexual exploitation for allegedly masterminding and participating in group sex with his players and their girlfriends in 1996-97, but was acquitted in 2008.
The FBI said Danton, a former client, targeted Frost in a murder-for-hire plot, though Danton has said he was actually targeting his own father, Steve Jefferson. Danton was arrested on April 16, 2004, and pleaded guilty on July 16, 2004. He was released on parole on Sept. 11, 2009, 63 months into a 90-month sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. He played university hockey for St. Mary’s in Nova Scotia last season, winning a national championship.
The full name “Jim McCauley” does not appear on the Laguna Hockey Academy’s website, but the director of hockey is identified as “McCauley Hockey,” and “Jim McCauley” is listed as the hockey manager of Laguna Hockey Academy under “Local Rinks” on the Anaheim Ducks’ website.
Frost said that at LHA he was “not coaching, or training or running a hockey school,” but had worked with junior and professional players to assist them with using the training equipment. He said his “main business” is in Canada.
Rik Wahlrab, a chiropractor based at LHA, said he has known Frost for 11 years and that his son had worked with Frost on video analysis sessions.
“I knew who he was, and I thought he should just tell people who he was and if they had a problem with it, then it’s their problem,” Wahlrab said. “He is the best hockey coach around. He helps people reach their potential.”
Asked about Frost’s role at the academy, Wahlrab said: “He is the grand poobah. He oversees it all.”
Christopher Sheffield, listed as the commissioner of adult and youth hockey leagues on the LHA website, said he was “unaware of anything” to suggest McCauley is indeed Frost. He said he was introduced to “Jim” in April.
“Just talking to him for about an hour, you can obviously pick out the phonies from the non-phonies,” Sheffield said. “He was forthright with where he had been and what he had done when it comes to his relationships with NHL players, junior players.”
Asked what he meant by forthright, whether he knew McCauley’s background, Sheffield said he never asked for a resumé. Sheffield said McCauley doesn’t work with players at LHA, but “oversees everything in the building, right from when and where we turn the on-and-off switch on to how many rolls of toilet paper go in each stall.”
“If it is him and he’s trying to start a new life and a new career, I don’t know why anybody would want to begrudge somebody like that,” Sheffield said. “I don’t know how to say this, but I’m just going to put it this way: If someone has something in their past and they’ve made mistakes – or somebody has wronged them – then they want to change their life and they want to change their name, they have every right to do that.”
Sheffield said he didn’t think people had a right to know McCauley’s past.
“Has he been accused of anything? Probably,” Sheffield said. “Has he been acquitted? Has he been found guilty? I don’t know. You’ve got to remember there are a lot of lives here that are depending on him. He’s done wonders in our hockey community here.”
At least one LHA employee and one parent discovered Frost’s identity on their own.
The employee said when he first met McCauley in May, he felt he knew him from somewhere but couldn’t put a name to the face. He said he discovered McCauley was actually Frost about a month-and-a-half ago when he searched the Internet for info on Adam Keefe(notes), a minor-league player with longtime ties to Frost who coached and trained at LHA this summer.
“You type in Adam’s name, a picture of David Frost pops up,” said the worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be associated professionally with Frost. “I was like, ‘Oh, wow. That’s interesting.’ Then I remembered hearing about him and seeing about him [in the media].”
The worker said he kept the news to himself and never confronted Frost.
“I certainly watched him very closely since then to make sure that there isn’t anything strange happening there, and everything looks above board,” the worker said. “But who knows? I don’t know him that well. I don’t know his past history that well other than things that I’ve seen on the news and on TV.
“If I was a parent, would that probably shock me and make me not want to train or have my children train there? Yeah, I would probably have issues. But at the end of the day, that’s not my call.”
One parent said she and her husband noticed one of Danton’s St. Louis Blues jerseys hanging at LHA, and when they asked Barth about it, he said he knew Danton. She said the jersey later came down. She said she and her husband discovered McCauley was actually Frost on Monday night when they searched the Internet for info about Sheldon Keefe, Adam’s brother.
“All of a sudden pops up this picture of him and somebody else and Mike Danton and David Frost and this whole thing,” said the parent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her son. “My husband … called me over to look on the computer and says, ‘Do you remember this story?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Who is this guy?’ And I’m like, ‘That’s Jim.’ “
The parent said Frost’s history concerned her.
“If he’s here lying about who he is, what his name is, he’s obviously trying to hide something,” the parent said.
“Jim has never said his last name. … I never even thought to ask. Obviously it’s very secretive. … I don’t know what else to say other than I want him out of here, and I want him to be discovered. I can’t believe that he already hasn’t been found out.”