A Season of Loss, a Lifetime of Forgiveness: The Dan Snyder and Dany Heatley Story


260 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55022-702-5
DDC 796.962'092271





Reviewed by Ian A. Andrews

Ian A. Andrews is a high-school social sciences teacher and editor of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association’s Focus.


The evening of September 29, 2003, changed the future forever for two
professional hockey players and their families. The Atlanta Flames
teammates were involved in a high-speed automobile accident. The driver,
Dany Heatley, sustained serious, career-threatening injuries; his
passenger, Dan Snyder, was killed. When the authorities charged the
driver with vehicular homicide, even though alcohol was not a factor,
not one, but both careers seemed to be over.

Manasso uses his journalistic talents to investigate the circumstances
surrounding the accident, the immediate reactions, grief, and soul
searching by family members of both victims, the coming together of the
hockey community to mourn the loss, and the decision by Atlanta
prosecutors to seek punishment through judicial intervention. This
becomes a human story—not a hockey story.

Despite their huge loss, the Snyder family sought to comfort and
support Dany Heatley, the player who drove his Ferrari much too fast for
conditions. From the beginning, Heatley accepted his responsibility for
the accident. This factor, combined with public support from the Snyder
family, whose Old Order Mennonite background emphasized forgiveness and
restorative justice, led to a reduction of charges, a guilty plea,
probation, and community service. Although, psychologically, Heatley
would probably never be completely healed, the support network provided
by the Snyder family, a deeply religious family that practised the
tenets of their faith, would help in the healing process.

Heatley recovered from his injuries, was traded to the Ottawa Senators
for a fresh start, and reached predicted superstar status. The Snyder
family continues to support and follow his career.

Manasso’s compassion, thoughtfulness, and determination to
investigate and report—not to sensationalize and trivialize a tragic
event associated with the sport of hockey—places A Season of Loss in a
category apart from the traditional sporting treatise.


Manasso, John., “A Season of Loss, a Lifetime of Forgiveness: The Dan Snyder and Dany Heatley Story,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15035.