ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta Thrashers forward Dan Snyder died Sunday night, six days after he was involved in a horrific car crash with teammate Dany Heatley.
Snyder died at Grady Hospital from massive brain injuries without ever regaining consciousness, the team said. He was 25.
Snyder underwent surgery for a skull fracture but never emerged from his coma.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Dan Snyder," the Thrashers said in a statement. "Dan was a teammate and friend to all of us. We feel a tremendous amount of pain as an organization and extend deepest sympathies to his family."
"Dan Snyder was committed to his family, to his profession, to his team and to his community, and the news of his passing fills all of us with an overwhelming sense of sorrow," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement released Sunday night. "The NHL extends its deepest sympathies to his parents who have lost a cherished son, to siblings who have lost a loving brother and to players who have lost a devoted teammate. Our prayers go out to his entire family."
Police said Heatley was driving his Ferrari at about 80 mph on a narrow two-lane road last Monday night when he lost control, spun off the road and smashed into a brick and wrought iron fence. The car split in half, throwing the players into the road.
Heatley already was facing several charges, including a felony, and the charges are now expected to be upgraded.
Snyder, a center who had 10 goals and four assists in 36 games for Atlanta last season, had surgery on his ankle in September before the start of training camp. He was expected to start the season on the injured list.
Snyder signed with the Thrashers as a free agent in 1999 after playing four seasons of junior hockey for Owen Sound in the Ontario Hockey League.
He spent most of his first three professional seasons in the minor leagues, helping Orlando win the International Hockey League title in 2000-01 and playing on the Chicago Wolves' American Hockey League championship team in 2001-02. He also played 35 games for Chicago last season, getting 11 goals and 12 assists.
In addition to his legal problems, Heatley also sustained serious injuries in the crash.
He underwent surgery Saturday for a broken jaw and an MRI found that he tore two ligaments in his right knee. He will require more surgery in about a week for the knee injury, certainly threatening any return to the ice this season.
Heatley is the leader of the Thrashers, a 22-year-old with both toughness and great skill with the puck. Last season, he scored a team-record 41 goals and was MVP of the All-Star game.
Thrashers General Manager Don Waddell said it's not known if Heatley will miss the entire season.
"Until doctors go in and see the extent of the tear, it's impossible to give an accurate recovery timetable," he said.
Heatley, who posted a $50,000 bond, already faced a felony charge of serious injury by vehicle and three misdemeanor charges.
And so much for "little" as well. Not a player shorter than 5'10" and only a few smaller than 185lbs. That's a lot of good-sized guys. When I declared for the Q draft in 1993 I was 6'2/185 and I was considered "big".