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Dan Snyder -> A Fan's Eulogy to Dan Snyder
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November 12, 2003 9:01:56 am
  Top Prospect

Location: Tallahassee, FL
Member Since: October, 2003
[ Link to this post ]
A Fan's Eulogy to Dan Snyder
The night Danny died, I drove home in silence, woke up my roommate to tell him the news, then toasted Snydes and finished all the whiskey we had in the apartment. After that I sat down in front of the keyboard to just get my thoughts out of my head and onto the screen, not intending to ever do anything with it, but just to have it done. Here's what I wrote that night. I haven't changed it since 2:30 AM October 5.

We should do a legislative one minute on Wednesday. Iíd have a heck of a time reducing this to a one minute anyway.


Atlanta is not a hockey town. Itís not even a good
sports town. Sure, the Braves are the best team in
baseball, and the Falcons have the most exciting
player in the NFL. As a city, Atlanta doesnít support
its teams well.

But each of our teams has its core base of fans.
Those fans are rabid. Those fans are obsessed. Those
fans are pure. To those fans, it isnít a game that
theyíre watching, itís a struggle on their behalf by
men who spent their boyhoods dreaming of one day
playing in front of such fans.

The Atlanta Thrashers set a record for attendance for
an expansion team in 1999. That wasnít because of an
instant supply of fans; it was because the NHL was the
new novelty ticket in town. Ticket sales have
dwindled as the new car smell has been chased off by
the pervasive odor that permeates the 10 feet
surrounding a hockey equipment bag.

Attendance hasnít lessened in the most important
category, however. The people who are no longer to be
found in Phillips Arena are the ones who thought that
seeing a hockey game was just a different way to spend
a Friday or Saturday night. Theyíre the ones who
looked confused when the game ended after 3 periods
instead of going on to a forth. Theyíre the ones who
thought of the Thrashers as one homogenous entity.

The most important category, in which the Thrashers
began with a small, but strong showing, has grown.
Itís grown slowly, and but itís grown steadily. That
category is of pure fans. They are the fans who do
not see just a team, but a tightly bonded group of
individual men who fought and struggled and sacrificed
to different degrees to be able to skate on that slab
of artificially frozen ice in the middle of a man made
mountain filled with people who want nothing more than
to watch for 60 minutes as these men battle for
victory on their behalf. These are the pure fans.
The fans who can see past the colorful jerseys and the
inane ďentertainmentĒ spewed forth mindlessly from the
jumbotron while waiting for a face off. These are the
fans who love the game, and love the players for the
way that they play it.

I am one of those pure fans, and it is in that
capacity that I intend to offer my memory, my eulogy
for Danny Snyder.

Being a pure fan of the Atlanta Thrashers wasnít easy
for the first few years. Men with an abundance of
character such as Jeff Odgers, Dean Sylvester, and
Denny Lambert made it easier. They played with a
desire in their gut that was obvious to those of us
looking on from the stands. They cared about how they
played, not for the money and the incentives in their
contracts, but because there were people like us
watching who had traveled from our homes and paid to
be a part of their struggle for victory.

I canít remember what night Dan Snyder made his debut
with the Atlanta Thrashers after being called up from
the Orlando Solar Bears of the IHL. What I do
remember is the feeling that I and all of the other
pure fans had when we saw Danny play.

Danny Snyder wasnít supposed to be in the NHL. He
wasnít even supposed to be in the IHL. He was too
small. He didnít shoot the puck well enough. He
wasnít cut out to be a pro hockey player.

Danny Snyder didnít give half a**** about what he was
and wasnít supposed to do or be. Like anyone who has
ever felt their cleats crunching the dirt of the
infield as they stepped on to a little league field,
or strained to lace up their skates or focused every
essence of themselves on making sure that the tape on
their Koho was just right, Danny Snyder grew up
playing the game he loved, and dreaming about becoming
a pro. Men like Dan Snyder dream such things all
their lives, and lesser men wonít have a clue as to
the real reasons why.

Men like Dan Snyder dream of being a professional
athlete in this society where such athletes are paid
more than they should to an exponential degree. But
they donít dream of it for the money, like so many who
aspire to practice law or trade stocks.

Men like Dan Snyder dream of being a professional
athlete in this society where such athletes are
treated like royalty in the community, with attention
lavished upon them regardless of their social prowess
or ineptitude. But they donít dream of it for the
free drinks and dates with any woman they want, like
so many who aspire to become stars in Hollywood or on
the stage.

No, Men like Dan Snyder dream of being a professional
athlete so that they can play for fans. Pure fans.
They dream of living for this sport that they love,
and excelling so that they can pay back their fans for
the support that they have been given. They want to
stride onto that ice and without speaking a word, tell
every true fan in the crowd that they care about their
passion, and will struggle and sacrifice to make it

In a game that, like so many in the Thrashers short
history, was a losing battle on the scoreboard, we as
fans received a victory when Danny Snyder first took
to the ice as an Atlanta Thrasher. He wasnít supposed
to be there, but he worked every second he could
throughout his life to overcome his small stature by
replacing the missing inches and pounds with passion
for the game and the way he played it.

There are players that you watch and can see their
love of the game and their joy at playing it. Wayne
Gretzky was such a player. There are players that you
watch and can see their determination to be the pest.
Scott Stevens is such a player.

Then there are players like Danny Snyder. When fan
watched Danny Snyder play, they saw an undersized
underdog fighting his way upstream to establish
himself worthy of a place in the highest hockey league
on Earth. When a pure fan watched Danny Snyder play,
they saw his heart. Danny Snyder played because he
loved the game, loved his team, and he loved being
able to validate the love of the pure fans through his
blood, sweat, and tears.

Danny Snyder was a normal, nice guy off the ice. I
canít say that I really knew him; just that Iíve
shaken his hand a few times around the practice rink
or season ticket holder events while speaking
encouraging words about his play and that of the team.
But from what I saw, it was obvious that Danny Snyder
was different than most. He had a sense of purpose.
Some professional athletes seem to believe that they
are owed the attention that they receive because of
their skills. Others are bewildered at that
attention. Danny Snyder always seemed to understand
it, and accept it, not as being owed to him, but as
being the result of what he had worked toward all
those exhausting hours on the ice and in the weight
room. He knew that the fans didnít owe him anything
because he knew how hard he had to work to get it.
And he wasnít bewildered by it, because that was what
he had worked toward all along. He played for the
fans, and he did it well.

All of us who have ever been athletes, whether they
had the skills of Wayne Gretzky or John Smoltz, or if
they could barely lift a bat or hit the water if they
fell out of a plane over the Pacific, have known at
least a little of what drove Dan Snyder. In some, it
becomes clouded and corrupted by tangential dreams of
fame or fortune. Danny Snyder didnít let anything
like that distract him. Fame and fortune were never
his dream. Skating on that NHL ice and playing in a
manner which showed his heart was his dream.

And he achieved it.

Danny Snyder would have spent this season as a
permanent member of the Atlanta Thrashers, rather than
as a transient bouncing back and forth between Atlanta
and Chicago. His work had come to fruition, and he
was ready to spend the entire season playing for those
pure fans who he won over the first time he strode
onto the ice in Phillips Arena and steamed shoulder
first into a man with 5 inches and 30 pounds of
leverage on him, just so he could keep him from
knocking the puck out of the zone.

Danny Snyder never seemed to think any part of the
game was routine or mundane or unimportant. He chased
down a loose puck in the neutral zone with 20 seconds
left in a game his team was losing by 4 goals as if by
reaching that puck before anyone else, he would earn
the right to raise the Stanley Cup. Why did he do it
that way? Because he was a special kind of player.
Because he wouldnít understand why anyone would even
think to ask why he did it that way.

When a pure fan watched Dan Snyder play hockey, they
saw his heart. And when you saw Danny Snyderís heart,
he became a part of your own.

The hockey Hall of Fame didnít lose a future
commemorative display tonight. When our grandchildren
look at the book of NHL records, they wonít be missing
Danny Snyderís name, because it was never going to be
there. But for all of us for whom Danny Snyder had
become part of our hearts, we have lost something that
hurts deeply, and wonít be filled again.

Dan Snyder didnít deserve to die from injuries he
received in a car crash last Monday night. He didnít
deserve to spend the past week in a coma, or to have
some guy he would never have recognized sitting up at
1:30 in the morning rambling aimlessly about him onto
a computer screen. Dan Snyder deserved to live his
dream to the fullest extent. He deserved a spot on
the Atlanta Thrashers roster, and he deserved a spot
in the heart of the pure fans in the stands.

Danny Snyder earned that spot on the roster, and he
earned that spot in our hearts. He will be missed
such that I cannot convey it in words here. Dannyís
parents have lost their son. Dannyís teammates have
lost a brother. Dannyís fans have lost a hero.
Hockey has lost Ė not a potential record breaking,
revolutionary talent Ė but a quiet soldier of
dedication and love of the game and of the fans. None
of those losses can be filled.

When you grip a softball bat to play in your work or
church league; when you lace up your cleats to play a
high school football game; when you pull your jersey
on over your shoulder and elbow pads prior to a game
against the Carolina Hurricanes; when you take your
son out to the back yard for his first game of catch,
remember Danny Snyder, and the reason he lived his
life and played his sport the way that he did. There
are no small plays; there are no unimportant games.
Miss Dan Snyder, and keep his heart as part of your

  [ PM crashprocter ]   __________________
We shouldn't be mad at Chef. We should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains.

  [ Ignore This Idiot ]

November 16, 2003 1:58:53 am

Location: Enjoying a slavish concern for the composition of words.
Member Since: December, 2001
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Well written, thanks.
  [ PM Poster ]   __________________
Ladies and gentlemen and JG if you'll look off the cabin to your left, you'll see a fat lady falling in a hole.
November 16, 2003 9:23:35 pm
  4th Line Grinder

Location: Atlanta (Smyrna), GA
Member Since: October, 2003
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Wow...that's amazing and extremely well written. Thanks for sharing it!

  [ PM Piglett1969 ]   __________________

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  Screamin Jen
November 20, 2003 8:47:30 pm

Location: Lily is this many
Member Since: April, 2002
[ Link to this post ]
Okay, I seriously need a tissue now. That was beautiful.
  [ PM Screamin Jen ]   __________________
Shoepolish says I'm the Goddess of Love and Beer and I'm okay with that.
July 25, 2005 1:44:11 am
  Jr. Prospect

Location: knuna idaho.
Member Since: July, 2005
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i came across your "Eulogy for Dan Snyder" last night and i have to say that it is very good. but i couldnt finish it. i was brought to tears. u really are a true fan. wish there was more people like you.. REMEBERINGDAN37

  [ Ignore This Idiot ]

April 17, 2018 8:41:10 am
  Jr. Prospect

Member Since: April, 2018
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Well written!!!

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