When the Flames were in Atlanta, there were 2 players, Eric Vail 1974-1975 season and Willi Plett 1976-1977 season, who won the Calder Memorial Trophy. The only other player related to Atlanta that has won, as an Atlanta Thrasher – Dany Heatley in the 2001-2002 season.
Dany Heatley has lived quite the hockey life. Drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers second overall in the draft pick, representing Team Canada in 6 World Championships, 2 Olympics and 1 World Cup of Hockey. In 2008, he became the Canadian All Time leader in goals and leader in points for the World Championships.
A few days ago, I got the pleasure of sharing with someone a ‘breakdown’ of the remaining teams in the race for the cup. When it came down to it, I realized that, ultimately, it’s the Sharks I want to see take it all the way. And the reason being, Dany Heatley. After I explained the details of Dany’s early years, all my friend could say was, “Wow”. I have been talking with Thrasher fans on and off this last week about the Sharks and Dany Heatley, and I am not alone. This boy has made a huge impact on Atlanta Thrasher hockey and history. And the most important thing that can be taken from his journey is the knowledge that you don’t just lay down and let it get to you. People have done that, in every sport and everyday life situations. Dany Heatley has gotten up, stood up and continued his fight for his dream.
I can’t imagine what it is like to step on the ice as #15. I can’t imagine what it is like to live even one day in his shoes. But I admire and respect him everyday for doing it. And I realized the other day, one of my biggest dreams is watching him raise that cup high over his head and skate out there on the ice. There can be no deeper meaning than for Dany Heatley to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup to the heavens.
Tonight is the final game. It happens now or it doesn’t happen at all. The Red Wings, they have been here, they have done that. Now they are the ones everyone is talking about who has the advantage. Now the Sharks are the underdogs. They are looking for a hero, confident it is in the San Jose locker room. There are a lot of us who are pretty confident of that. Lead your team into the most enjoyable game you have ever had. Bring it back to when you were a little kid, or a rookie with no cares in the world. Nothing to do but play the game.
“If you can play Ice Hockey, you can do Anything” – uncertain
History WILL be made.