When remembering Dan Snyder, don’t forget his parents

Six year ago today the Thrashers’ community lost one of their beloved citizens. On October 5, 2003, Dan Snyder pass away from the injuries incurred during the car accident five days earlier. Teammate Dany Heatley was at the wheel of the Ferrari 360 Modena as it collided with a wall on Lenox Road the night of September 29.

We will always remember the feeling of great loss and sorrow during that time as a young man’s life was taken far too soon and we will always remember the tears we shed during the tribute to Snyder before the season opener just a few days later. To that point, the Blueland Chronicle’s Razor Catch Prey offered up these fine words to mark the 6th-year anniversary of his passing.

Never forgotten (Photo via Thrashers.com)

Never forgotten (Photo via Thrashers.com)

Since that fateful day, we in Thrasherville have always recalled the life of Danny Snyder…and that is as it should be. However, I hope that you will also remember the example of mercy and grace that was displayed at that time by his parents, Graham and Lu Ann Snyder. In the darkest, most agonizing days of their lives, they reached out the one who was driving the car that evening and embraced him and his family.

Most people certainly could have justified any resentment they would have held for the person deemed responsible for the untimely death of their son. But instead, they lived the convictions of their faith and of their beliefs and moved to ministered to the heart, mind and soul of Dany Heatley in a manner that only they could have…treating him as they would their own son.

As the father of two sons in their teenage years, I must confess…as I think of how Mr. And Mrs. Snyder responded and acted during their time of grief, I am not sure I could act in the same way they did. And for that, I will always be humbled and in awe of how they presented themselves when no one would have blamed them for acting otherwise.

I will never forget that…and I hope you will not either.

May God continue to bless the soul of Dan Snyder and may He always hold near to Him his parents, family and loved ones who survived him.

33 comments Add your comment


October 5th, 2009
3:37 pm

Beautifully said.


October 5th, 2009
3:37 pm


October 5th, 2009
3:47 pm

This why I could never bring myself to “boo” Heatley. As infuriated as I was with his demands and how he treated Atlanta fans I thought of the Snyder’s and the grace/compassion they showed. My problems with the crud seemed shallow in comparison to what the Snyder’s could feel. I felt that the Snyder’s wouldn’t want Heatly vilified and out of respect for them I remained silent when he was in town.

As a reminder John Manasso, former AJC sportswriter, wrote an excellent book on the accident and aftermath.

RIP Dan – you’ll always be a Thrasher.


October 5th, 2009
3:59 pm

What a wonderful tribute. We all are guilty of getting caught up in the daily crush of life (and wins & losses of our favorite teams) and forget that life is truly a precious thing. I pray that the Snyders are comforted by the memories they have of the time they shared with Dan.

Buzilla in CT

October 5th, 2009
4:02 pm

well said Willy

Baldheaded Thrasher

October 5th, 2009
4:06 pm

I wish they would still sell the 37 buttons at Philip’s and donate the proceeds to thee Snyder family, also a 37 logo on the rink boards would be a class act.


October 5th, 2009
4:54 pm

Here here, RH.


October 5th, 2009
5:13 pm

R.I.P. Danny. We will never forget.

Tony C.

October 5th, 2009
5:36 pm

Yeah, I second that. I would happily buy a #37 pin or 10, I would like to see them bring back those pins-and ensure that the Snyder’s charity continues to receive the proceeds.

I don’t know that Danny Snyder would still be a Thrasher, but we all know he would be giving whatever team was lucky enough to have him every bit that he had to give-it’d be nice to see the organization try and live up to that ethic.

Not that I think they’ve forgotten Snyder (No discussion about Peverly changing to #47 for example; it’s not even an option to get that number here), but I’m sure whatever licensing agreements that were drawn up have since expired, and I would be surprised to not see the Snyder’s charity listed as a recepient of funds from the Thrashers Foundation.

Still, it’d be nice to have the option to get a #37 pin next time I’m @ The Flatscreen


October 5th, 2009
5:48 pm

Just wondering, I know that Danny’s Number isn’t allowed to be used anymore, but how come they haven’t retired it? I think that they should raise his number to the rafters of Blueland in honor of his memory so he’ll never be forgotten.


October 5th, 2009
6:31 pm

Well said, Bill.

Have a Dan Snyder night – against Boston on March 23rd is the 37th home game of the season. Have players wear a special commemorative jersey during warm ups, then auction them off for the Snyders’ charity. Have a special logoed TShirt and sell it during the game – again, proceeds to charity. Get Heatley to do a PSA on the scoreboard – let him actually earn back some of the leniency he was accorded in court. Raise the number to the rafters and move on.

For those who want one – there are usually several of the “37″ patches available on eBay. I put mine on my Kovy AS jersey just as he did for the game in Minneapolis.

World Be Free

October 5th, 2009
7:05 pm

I hope the club takes some of these suggestions to heart. That’s what Dan had, a very big heart. He was a hockey player-nuff said.


October 5th, 2009
7:50 pm

I have heard they have unofficially retired #37 but never had any confirmation. I think they should have some sort of tribute to Dan and officially retire #37. Not raise it to the rafters but definetly retire the number.


October 5th, 2009
8:16 pm

Hard to believe it has been six years since that awful day…

Still would like to know if heatly ever did what the Late Roland Barnes ordered him to do ?

Maybe when the Sharks come to town they should pick him up for a little
“talk”, makes me ill seeing him mock everyone and get what “HE” wants.

One day heatley GOD will send you where you deserve… No escaping that.

Let’s hope Dan’s sprit is with the team ALL season long !


October 5th, 2009
8:21 pm

Graham and LuAnn Snyder are amazing people, strong in their Menonite convictions. They believe that it was Dan’s time to be called home, for a higher purpose. The words, “We do not lay blame on Dany Heatley for the loss of our son” are words that do echo throughout the annals of Thrasher history.

Forsenic evidence probably suggests to the contrary. But plea agreements are plea agreements. The unfettered TRUTH of the matter will probably never be known. And at this point, I’ve filed it under “bygones.”

But it’s not an entire “love-in,” between the Snyders and Heatley, either. I recall Graham Snyder stating that he was “disappointed” by some of the choices Dany Heatley has made in his life and career. I believe he uttered that sentiment … right about the time the story that Heatley demanded a trade out of Ottawa broke.

I believe the Thrashers will not retire the #37 to the rafters because Snyder never owned any team records. The distinction Dan Snyder holds … is that he made to the NHL undrafted. That’s pretty tough to do. But it seems fairly clear that they won’t let anyone else wear #37 again. And I can live with that. No one should wear it.


October 5th, 2009
8:42 pm

Well written Memorial Rawhide.

I think the Thrashers management have some sort of idea or plan to officially retire #37 at some future date, at the right time… whatever that may be.


October 5th, 2009
8:50 pm

i will always marvel at how they handled themselves at the time of Dan’s death. and while yes, he holds no records, he’s in our memories. And his death changed the club. they should do something official with the number.

Mr. Tiller, t’was nice words writ by you.


October 5th, 2009
9:07 pm

God Bless the Snyders – they are far better people than I will ever be.

Zero chance Snyder’s #37 ever gets officially retired.

Sad to think Kovy and Kozzie are the only two left who played with Dan – at least here in Atlanta. I don’t think any of our other players were in Chicago with Dan, although Anderson was his coach.


October 5th, 2009
11:07 pm

Eloquent and very true Rawhide…The parents of Dan Snyder showed class and a depth of soul that we should all hope to strive for. God Bless Dan, his parents, Dany Heatley and all that knew Dan.

As Thrasher fans we should never forget his spirit.


October 6th, 2009
12:26 am

God bless you Rawhide. You truly have an illuminated soul. Best always friend. Thrashers appear solid BKL. Will same be said for AKL? Oh well. Thank you again. I seldom cry when I read but your words had my eyes misty. Peace.


October 6th, 2009
6:16 am

Enter your comments here
Hats off Rawhide, well said.

As the father of two kids I am always amazed at the example of Graham and Lu Ann Snyder, I could not be as forgiving. This is why on the 41st home game they get the huge ovation, the example they set makes us better people.

37 should not be retired by the organization but it should not be worn by a Thrashers player, only by fans. It would be nice to see the Atlanta Thrashers foundation re-named to include Snyder. That seems like the type of tribute Graham and Lu Ann would be most moved by.

Get The Puck Out

October 6th, 2009
8:36 am

The main reason for the crash was Heatly was driving a car that was WAYYYY over his driving ability and he was driving stupidly in a place that was not intended for a car of that caliber. The parents of Dan Snyder did something that as humans we should all strive to do——-forgive.


October 6th, 2009
9:18 am

Longtime lurker…this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to jump in. This was truly one of the best in a series of very good posts Rawhide.

It had special meaning to me because I’m pretty sure my daughter got one of the very last autographs from Pretzel Boy (family nickname…Snyders of Hanover…it’s a PA thing) at the open house. As many have expressed, the class, quiet strength and conviction to live what Graham and Lu Ann believe are a high bar indeed. The world would be a better place if there were more people like them in it.

A bit sad the Spirit crew has not figured out a better way to honor Dan…seems like there is plenty of room in our rafters for something up there with that Widespread Panic banner.

While Dan may never have cracked an All-Star lineup, his play always reminded me of Brian Sutter and his brothers. They weren’t the most talented guys on the ice, but you could count on them always hustling and finishing their shifts. Heart takes some players a lot further than pure talent.

Always enjoy Sara’s observations….especially on Jeff Schultz.

Spud Webb

October 6th, 2009
9:36 am


October 6th, 2009
10:59 am

Amen brother! Well done Bill, well done.

Never had the privilege of seeing Snyder play, but I have been convinced from what I’ve read about him that I would absolutely love his game and his heart-filled passion. Like the above poster mentioned, we can sure raise a banner in tribute to his memory…the Widespread Panic banner is sort of pathetic if you think about it. A tribute banner, not necessarily a # retirement banner, would surely be classier and more appropriate.


October 6th, 2009
12:01 pm

For anyone interested – ESPN’s 30 at 30 tonight at 8PM is the story of the Gretzky trade. Hockey on ESPN…what a novel concept.


October 6th, 2009
12:17 pm

Going off topic (again) – you Sabres fans will be happy to know this is the last season for the Buffaslug. New logo and unis are on their way for next years 40th season.

World Be Free

October 6th, 2009
12:32 pm

Glovesave-ESPN used to like hockey when they had nothing else. Tom Mees was a first class hockey announcer. They they got arrogent, went out and hired a bunch of idiots for announcers. Pardon the Interruption talks hockey sometimes.

Buffslug-yeah they are all pretty happy in BUF. Sabres still need to bring back the OLD Buffalo jersey from the AHL-the bottle cap on front of the jersey. That was pretty classic.

World Be Free

October 6th, 2009
12:35 pm

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 6th, 2009
12:50 pm

It’s nice that everybody (or almost everybody) kept their comments about the tragedy focused on the victim and his family. Too often these types of blogs turn into a tarring and feathering of the perpetrator, and not a remembrance of the life of Dan Snyder and of his family after his untimely demise.

Does anybody expect Vancouver to retire Luc Bourdon’s number? Does anyone know if that number has since been recycled, or if it is unofficially ineligible like Snyder’s 37 in Atlanta?

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 6th, 2009
12:54 pm

WBF — I dig the bottle cap logo…but is it still possible to use due to the link with Pepsi? I would imagine licensing rights would prohibit Buffalo from using anything resembling a Pepsi logo since (to my knowledge) the two companies (Buffalo Sabres and Pepsi Co.) are not connected.


October 6th, 2009
1:34 pm

ranallo10 – Yes…I too have been very pleased to see the tone of the comments kept to the memory of Dan Snyder and his parents. Thanks to all for that.

I’ve just posted a new entry on my chat with John Kindade the other week. People can continue to post their thoughts here regarding the 6th anniversary of Snyder’s passing as well.

Bluenote & Thrashfan01 – Welcome, and thanks for the thoughts!

billandjessie – Hello to you both, my friends.


October 6th, 2009
1:36 pm

I echo what everyone else has said. Very well said RH.

I’ve often thought the team should have put a small banner of the 37 patch the team wore that year up in the rafters.