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Heatley expresses remorse

ATLANTA -- The remorse Dany Heatley felt was evident before he even spoke a word.


The Thrashers' All-Star talked publicly yesterday for the first time since the car wreck that killed teammate and friend Dan Snyder, a crash that left Heatley, the driver, with a broken jaw and torn knee ligaments.

He spoke haltingly through an opening statement, during which he thanked everyone -- especially the Snyder family -- for their support. He sat alone on a small platform during a news conference in the club level at Philips Arena, three hours before his team faced the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I just want to say I'm very sorry for the loss of my friend and teammate," Heatley began, his eyes moist with tears. "I'm going to miss him forever."

The investigation into the Sept. 29 wreck in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood isn't finished yet. Heatley was charged with vehicular homicide six days after Snyder died from head injuries.

Because Heatley wasn't drunk, and Snyder's relatives said they forgave him, prosecutors could decide the car crash was just an accident, and choose not to pursue felony charges that carry sentences ranging from three to 15 years. "I want to thank the Snyder family for their support," Heatley said. "It's been amazing. They have just been unbelievable, giving me a lot of strength."

Police said Heatley was driving his Ferrari at about 80 miles per hour on a two-lane road when he lost control and smashed into a brick and wrought iron fence. If his legal troubles permit it, the team expects Heatley to return this season. General manager Don Waddell said if Heatley's rehab continues at its current pace, he could return to practice in four or five weeks.

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