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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.
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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.
Harper earns Dan Snyder Man of the Year award
Forward Shane Harper has been named the Chicago Wolves’ Dan Snyder Man of the Year in recognition of his enthusiastic commitment to Chicago-area charities and the community throughout the 2014-15 season.
One Wolves player earns this 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. Snyder spent the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons with the Wolves and helped the team capture the 2002 Calder Cup championship.
Wolves chairman of the board Don Levin, vice chairman Buddy Meyers, general manager Wendell Young, assistant general manager Bill Bentley, and senior advisor/director of hockey operations Gene Ubriaco presented the 26-year-old HARPER with the award Sunday at Allstate Arena shortly before the team’s regular-season finale against Toronto on April 19.
The Valencia, Calif., native was an important part of virtually every Wolves community endeavor this season. He visited local libraries as part of the team’s “Read to Succeed” program, which has reached more than 500,000 children over the last 19 years. He was instrumental in the team’s Breast Cancer Awareness efforts that helped nearly 100 women receive mammograms who otherwise couldn’t afford one. His eagerness to wear a different St. Patrick’s Day specialty jersey for three home games in March enabled the team to raise more money to benefit Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago’s Therapeutic School and autism research.
“His spirit is really the same as Dan’s,” said Courtney Mahoney, the Wolves’ senior vice president of operations. “He’s always high-energy. He always has a smile. I’ve never seen Shane, on or off the ice, not giving 100 percent. It’s very reminiscent of Dan Snyder. That’s why, beyond the time and effort he puts in, he was a perfect choice for the award. Shane never does anything halfway.”
“I wasn’t expecting to be named the Dan Snyder Man of the Year,” HARPER said. “I just enjoy going out and doing things in the community. I love the fans. I love kids. Our events are always a lot of fun and it’s rewarding to me to be a part of them. Whatever I go to, I like to put a lot of effort into it and just be myself and make it comfortable for everyone there.”