Dan Snyder Man of the Year Award
19 – Forever in our heart
Dan Snyder (February 23, 1978 – October 5, 2003) was signed by the Atlanta Thrashers as a free agent in 1999. During his time in the minor leagues, he was a member of the International Hockey League champion Orlando Solar Bears in 2000-01 and the American Hockey League champion Chicago Wolves in 2001-02. Called up to the National Hockey League, he contributed 10 goals and four assists in 36 games with the Thrashers in 2002-03.
On September 29, 2003, Snyder was critically injured after the Ferrari 360 Modena driven by his teammate, Dany Heatley, struck a wall along Atlanta’s Lenox Road. Both players were ejected from the car, which was split in half by the force of the impact. Snyder suffered a fractured skull and internal brain injuries due to the rapid acceleration / deceleration incident. He lapsed into a coma following emergency surgery, and died six days later on October 5.
DAN SNYDER MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
The Dan Snyder Man of the Year Award is given to the Chicago Wolves player who demonstrates the most outstanding dedication to Chicago-area community service each year.
Snyder was a dedicated member of the Chicago Wolves organization off the ice, making numerous appearances in the community and endearing himself to many of the fans who watched him on the ice and met him outside the arena. During off-days, Snyder made frequent appearances at local libraries to talk to kids about reading through the Wolves “Read to Succeed” program. He also visited hospitals and appeared at other community events. Snyder set an example to be followed by future members of the team.
Snyder was just as dedicated on the ice, serving as team captain of his junior team and excelling through hard work as his career progressed. He made his NHL debut with the Atlanta Thrashers on April 3, 2001, against the Ottawa Senators before tallying two game-winning goals in the Turner Cup Finals for the Orlando Solar Bears, helping them to a 4-games-to-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves. As a member of the Wolves in 2001-02, Snyder continued to score at crucial times, tying an all-time AHL playoff record with five game-winning goals. With Snyder’s help, the Wolves took home their first Calder Cup championship.
The Wolves keep Snyder’s memory alive in various ways. A banner bearing his name hangs permanently from the rafters of the Allstate Arena, while the Wolves continue to raise money for charities associated with him.
Sterling Wins Dan Snyder Man of the Year Award
Chicago Wolves forward Brett Sterling added to his extensive collection of honors for his efforts on and off the ice when he received the 2017 Dan Snyder Man of the Year Award prior to Chicago’s win over Rockford on Sunday, April 9, at Allstate Arena.
One Wolves player earns the award each season in memory of Snyder, who passed away on Oct. 5, 2003, at the age of 25 after suffering head injuries in a car accident. During his two seasons with the Wolves, Snyder displayed a remarkable commitment to helping people and charities throughout the Chicago area. He also scored five game-winning goals during the postseason to help the Wolves capture the 2002 Calder Cup championship.
Sterling, the American Hockey League’s leading active goal-scorer with 235 markers, accepted his first Dan Snyder Man of the Year award in 2010. When the 32-year-old Los Angeles native returned to the Wolves organization this season, he was determined to make an even bigger impact on the community.
That led to, among other initiatives, an expansion of the Team Up With 29 program. Formed originally to raise money for Chicago Wolves Charities with each goal he scores, the four-time AHL All-Star expanded Team Up With 29 to include the Wolves Wish program presented by KIND Snacks. Wolves Wish helps families and fans who are facing adversity and provides them with a special experience at a Wolves game.
“One of the first conversations we had was, ‘What more can we do and how can we give back?’ ” said Wolves senior vice president of operations Courtney Mahoney. “I couldn’t be more proud of him and in awe of his commitment to the community every day. He’s so good with the kids who are having a Wolves Wish fulfilled and he’s so good with their parents. He always puts them first on his list of priorities.”
Blake Burriss, one of the many young people whom Sterling has befriended during the course of this season, has become a familiar and welcome sight at Wolves games. Blake, who has struggled with brain tumors and the aftereffects of multiple surgeries, joined Sterling and senior Wolves management on the ice for Sunday’s award ceremony.
“To have Blake there to present the award was a special feeling, something I’ll always remember,” Sterling said. “When all is said and done, the hockey side of this fades away, but the human side of this sport is what remains. I never met Dan Snyder, but you hear the stories about the impact that he had. Even today, people still talk about him and what he did for people in Chicago.”
Sterling became the third Wolves player to win the Snyder Award a second time. He is joined on the list of honorees by Pat Cannone (2016), Shane Harper (2015), Michael Davies (2013, 2014), Darren Haydar (2012), Spencer Machacek (2011), Jordan Lavallee (2009), Nathan Oystrick (2008), Brian Sipotz (2007), Karl Stewart (2005, 2006) and Kurtis Foster (2004).