Junior hockey team retires Dan Snyder's number

The Owen Sound Attack honoured their late former captain Dan Snyder on Friday night.

The Ontario Hockey League club raised his number 14 and his picture to the rafters of the J.D. McArthur Arena prior to its game against the Saginaw Spirit. Attack players carried the banner around the ice before giving it to the Snyders, who attached it to a rope where it was raised to the rafters on the west side of the scoreboard.

"He was very proud of this organization and this city," said Dan's father, Graham Snyder. "He never hesitated to tell people that. And I really want to say a thank you to the city of Owen Sound and the people here who were a big, big part of Dan's life."

The ceremony featured several local politicians, former teammates, Attack and Atlanta Thrashers officials as well as family and friends.

Snyder, who played parts of three seasons with the Thrashers, died Oct. 5 from injuries he suffered in a car accident in Atlanta.

It's the first number retired in Attack history. In October, the junior B Elmira Sugar Kings retired Snyder's number 16.

"I like to call it the Dan Snyder era," Attack business manager Ray McKelvie said of the Snyder's four seasons in Owen Sound from 1995 to 1999.

The 25-year-old Elmira native was the Owen Sound Platers' captain for his final two years with the club.

OHL commissioner Dave Branch presented the Snyder family with a plaque in honour of the league renaming its humanitarian of the year award in honour of Snyder.

"Dan displayed incredible talents on and off the ice," said Branch. "As great a hockey player as he was ? Dan was an even greater person. Twice named the humanitarian of the year in Owen Sound for his work in the community, showing love. Showing strength. Showing compassion. Giving back."

Snyder went undrafted by the NHL but signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999.

Snyder had played 49 career NHL games, scoring 11 goals and five assists. He was expected to be with the Thrashers full-time this season and had been told to find an apartment in the city.

"His spirit is with us in our locker room every day," said Atlanta general manager Don Waddell. "I know our hockey club right now is sitting in first place (in the NHL's Southeast Division) and it is because of Dan Snyder."

with files from Canadian Press