Dany Heatley, another athlete who made a mistake that had tragic consequences. I don’t remember much about Heatley’s time as a hockey player, I can’t recall what he did when he was out on the ice. But what I do remember is 2003 and the event that changed his life.
Daniel James Heatley was born on January 21, 1981 in Freiburg, West Germany to Murray & Karin Heatley. While living in Freiburg Murray played professional hockey and when he retired the family moved to Alberta, Canada. Heatley played minor league hockey for the Alberta Midget League beofore playing for the University of Wisconsin Badgers. He was picked up by the Atlanta Thrashers (the current Winnipeg Jets) in 2001. He dominated the 2001-2002 season leading all rookies in points (67) & assists (41). Heatley really emerged as a star during the 2002-2003 season in which he scored 41 goals, earning him 88 points all within 77 games.
On September 29, 2003 Heatley was seriously injured in a car accident after losing control of his Ferrari while driving between 55 & 82mph in an Atlanta residential area (the speed limit was 35mph). At the time of the crash his friend & teammate Dan Snyder was riding in the passenger seat. Heatley suffered a broken jaw, a minor concussion, a bruised kidney, a bruised lung, & tore 3 ligaments in his right knee. Snyder unfortunately would not be so lucky. The car struck a brick pillar & iron fence at the time of the crash, the impact nearly splitting it in half & ejected Dan Snyder.
Snyder suffered a severe depressed skull fracture which put him in a coma & on October 5, 2003 he passed away from sepsis while in the hospital, never regaining consciousness. At the time of his death Dan Snyder was only 25 years old. Heatley would eventually plead guilty to 2nd degree vehicular manslaughter, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain a lane and speeding. He would admit to having consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel of his car, although his blood alcohol level tested below the legal limit on the night of the crash.
He was sentenced to 3 years’ probation & the judge ordered Heatley to never buy a car with over 6 cylinders (I have no idea what that means) nor could he drive past 70mph at any time. Heatley avoided a lengthy trial and 1st degree murder charges by putting in his guilty plea. The Atlanta Thrashers stood behind Heatley and remained supportive of him during this whole ordeal. Dan Snyder’s parents asked that the judge show leniency towards Heatley claiming that nothing would be gained by imprisoning him. If you ask me this dude got very, very, very, very lucky.
In 2005 Dany Heatley asked to be traded to the Ottawa Senators stating that the Atlanta area held too many bad memories for him and he got tired of hearing the rumors that were circulating around the crash. No 2004-2005 season would be played due to the NHL lockout, I remember that and man was it tough. Although, it was a cake walk compared to having no sports at all due to this COVID 19. On September 12, 2009 Heatley would be traded once again, this time to the San Jose Sharks, then to Minnesota Wild, The last two teams he would play for are the Anaheim Ducks & the Florida Panthers.
In August 2012 Heatley filed a 11-million-dollar lawsuit against his longtime agent Stacey Alpine, Alpine’s parents, and several other companies. He stated that the defendants lured him into multiple bad real estate deals across the United States & America. Healey would also claim that Alpine make unauthorized withdraws from his bank account totaling up to 4 million dollars. One month later Heatley’s former Senators teammate Chris Phillips would also file a lawsuit against Stacey Alpine for luring him into bad real estate deals as well. On July 21, 2017 Dany Heatley was awarded 6.5 million dollars in the lawsuit. The police would later arrest Stacey Alpine for fraud, money laundering, and theft. But Alpine would pass away on March 5, 2018 at the age of 54.
Dany Heatley’s career in the NHL had its highs and lows and perhaps its lowest point was when he killed his own teammate, even if it was just a tragic accident.
Dany Heatley – http://www.hockeydb.com
Greatness, Murder, and the Last Days: Dany Heatley – http://www.vice.com