By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
Front Roe Seat
As NHL all-star forward Dany Heatley was driving his sports car roughly 80 mph on the wrong side of the road late last Monday night, he likely was not thinking about killing the hope of an entire franchise. Much less, he would never be thinking about killing one of his teammates.
But that’s exactly what he did.
The 22-year-old is the same age as some students on this campus and on top of being an NHL star he is now being charged with vehicular homicide. Heatley lost control of his sports car and ran into a wall in Atlanta resulting in the death of teammate and friend Dan Snyder, who was fatally injured in the crash.
The charge carries a prison sentence of three to 15 years if convicted by a grand jury.
Snyder and Heatley were both thrown from the car, with Synder suffering serious head injuries. Snyder died Sunday evening six days after suffering severe brain injuries. He was 25.
Heatley was also injured in the crash sustaining a broken jaw and two torn ligaments in his knee. He is expected to miss the majority of the NHL season.
This tragic incident sets a negative tone to a season that is already off-base because of the expected work stoppage and lock-out next fall.
Heatley represented part of the future of hockey. At only 22, Heatley already had a Rookie of the Year and All-star game MVP honors under his belt. Last season, he led the Thrashers with 41 goals and 48 assists.
The NHL season opens on Wednesday and the Atlanta Thrashers will begin their season at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. And instead of leading the Thrashers against the Blue Jackets, Heatley will face knee surgery on Thursday and will soon face homicide charges that could see him end up not back on the ice but in prison.
For now, Heatley will only face the most horrific person possible: himself. One can only imagine what the 22-year-old’s mindset is after not only wrecking his car, his knee, his season and possibly his hockey career, but fatally wrecking the life of another person and his family.