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Emotional Night for Thrashers

Before beating the Blue Jackets, 2-1, they hold a ceremony to honor Dan Snyder.

October 10, 2003|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — The lights at Philips Arena dimmed. A bagpipe player emerged from beneath the stands to play "Amazing Grace." The video board began showing the best times of Dan Snyder's life.

On an emotionally charged night, the Thrashers opened the season Thursday night -- four days after Snyder's death from injuries sustained in a car wreck with All-Star teammate Dany Heatley.

The Thrashers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, when Chris Tamer scored with 2:24 left. Tamer is one of only three players left from the Thrashers' inaugural season in 1999-2000.

Heatley broke his jaw and tore two ligaments in his knee, which were repaired by team physician Dr. Scott Gillogly on Tuesday.

He's out indefinitely, but Thrasher General Manager Don Waddell said he expects Heatley to return to the ice this season -- if his legal troubles allow. Heatley is facing a vehicular homicide charge that carries a prison sentence of three to 15 years.

Snyder's No. 37 was painted on the boards and stitched to each player's sweater, just above the heart.

Before the game, the Thrashers held a brief ceremony in his honor. The public address announcer told the crowd of 17,918 that "Dan's passion for life and hockey will be how we remember him."

The video clip ended with a smiling Snyder smoking a cigar and holding the Calder Cup after Atlanta's minor league affiliate won the AHL championship in 2002.

The entire team -- Heatley included -- was scheduled to travel to Elmira, Canada, today for Snyder's funeral.

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