Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dany Heatley

Dany Heatley recently spoke with an AP reporter about his new life in Ottawa. Heatley is still serving probation from his 2003 accident, in which Thrashers teammate Dan Snyder died.

Heatley was driving when he lost control of his black Ferrari and crashed while speeding on a residential Atlanta road on Sept. 29, 2003. The car was torn apart. Heatley broke his jaw and injured his knee. Snyder lingered in a coma for six days before dying at 25.

Heatley pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain a lane and speeding.

Snyder's parents, Graham and LuAnn, hugged Heatley at their son's funeral. Graham Snyder and his other son both testified in court that they didn't want Heatley to go to jail or lose his hockey career.

He didn't.


Off the ice, Heatley's life is a bit different from his teammates.

He was sentenced to three years of probation, which is ongoing. He cannot drive except for work and medical purposes or for going to the grocery store or to the 150 speeches he's required to give.

"I'm on pace," he said. "I'll probably finish them up by the end of summer."

Heatley talks to young people about the dangers of speeding.

"Maybe you can help somebody along the way or help them make the right decision along the way," he said.

While Heatley continues remaking his life, the Snyders remain attached to the past.

They visited all 30 NHL arenas this season. Not to harp on the accident, but to remind fans of their son. They started a foundation in his name that provides college scholarships.

"We talk," Heatley said. "Not a lot, but we talk regularly."

But Heatley shuts down when asked about carrying Dan Snyder's spirit with him.

"That's something that I've kept close to me since it happened and something I'm not going to talk about," he said.

Heatley and the Snyders will reunite in July for the fourth annual Dan Snyder Memorial golf tournament in Elmira, Ont. Heatley has attended each year.

How much would he enjoy bringing the Stanley Cup with him this summer?

"I don't want to jinx it," he said. "It's always fun to go there, it's a great day."

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