Wednesday, 21 September 2011

TBC: A Season Of Loss

HBIC wants to take a look at a few of the major losses in hockey history over the next few weeks through Teebz's Book Club. Unless you've been lost on some deserted island, you know about the tragic losses suffered by the hockey world this summer, and I can't begin to express how difficult it may have been for those close to the victims for their losses. There have been others who have been lost far too early, and HBIC would like to remember their stories as well. After all, the people involved in those losses are probably still grieving as well. Nothing can fill the void created when losing a loved one. Today, TBC is proud to present A Season of Loss, A Lifetime of Forgiveness, written by John Manasso and published by ECW Press. In this book, readers get a glimpse of the impact felt by friends and family on the passing of Dan Snyder, former Atlanta Thrasher. Honestly, the stories and anecdotes about Dan Snyder are touching, and I was particularly moved by how many people will truly miss Mr. Snyder in their lives.

From the ECW Press website, "John Manasso, author of A Season of Loss, A Lifetime of Forgiveness, is the Atlanta Thrashers' beat writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in Atlanta, GA. He is also a contributor to Hockey News. He has degrees in print journalism and history from American University, D.C. He lives in Decatur, GA." Since that time, Mr. Manasso has left the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and took a job with the Atlanta Business Chronicle where he was a sports writer until 2007. He is currently a writer for the Atlanta Falcons' website and he contributes articles to Mr. Manasso lives with his wife and two children, a nine year-old son and a six year-old daughter, in Decatur.

It's tough to tackle a subject like this objectively because there is so much emotion involved for all that are interviewed. I want to be upfront when I say that Mr. Manasso's work in A Season of Loss, A Lifetime of Forgiveness is outstanding as he really gives the people interviewed a voice in their recollections of Dan Snyder. He doesn't editorialize and he's very sympathetic to everyone that has been affected by Mr. Snyder's passing, and his writing style respects all those with which he spoke. In short, Mr. Manasso's book is excellent.

At no point in this book does Mr. Manasso point a finger at anyone responsible. The subject of objectivity could be taught in reading this book. Instead, Mr. Manasso allows those people he interviewed to get their messages of how they miss Dan Snyder across as well as providing key insights from those involved in the Dany Heatley criminal case. It's very important to note that at no point do the Snyders even come close to being angry or vengeful towards Dany Heatley in any way, and Mr. Manasso allows the Snyder family to explain how and why they forgave Mr. Heatley for what happened.

The examination of the criminal trial at the end of A Season of Loss, A Lifetime of Forgiveness was particularly interesting in that it seems as though the judge presiding over the case, Judge Rowland Barnes, was extremely sympathetic to the responsibilities and difficulties facing all those involved in the case. The picture painted by Mr. Manasso shines a very positive light on Judge Barnes, and it shows that the criminal justice system can work wonders if some people think outside the box. Unfortunately for the city of Atlanta, Judge Barnes was gunned down in his own courtroom a mere six weeks after the Dany Heatley trial ended. Again, we lose another fantastic human being of which the world could use more.

A Season of Loss, A Lifetime of Forgiveness is a fabulous book. I felt, at times, a lump forming in my throat when Dan Snyder's friends and family were speaking about him. At the trial, Jake Snyder, Dan's brother, was given an opprtunity to speak. He was overwhelmed with emotion, but his father, Graham, read the statement he had prepared. This excerpt from that statement really got me where it counts.

"I spoke of two things that I would do at the time of Dan's funeral. One point that I made was that if Dany Heatley was one of Dan's guys, he was one of my guys. Dany and I have become friends since that time, and in getting to know him, I know he never intended for this to happen. Secondly, I mentioned that I would try and spend the rest of my life trying to be more like my brother. To honour Dan's memory properly, I believe I need to be as helpful to Dany Heatley as not only [I would be to] a friend of mine, but a friend of my brother's. I don't want to see my friend go to prison and I know in my heart Dan would feel the same way."
A Season of Loss, A Lifetime of Forgiveness is a very good read, and moves very nicely between all of the people interviewed by Mr. Manasso. The 265-page book really brings to life a man that I didn't know in Dan Snyder, and it really sounds like the world lost a special man. His generosity, his thoughtfulness, and his commitment to his family, friends and teammates are common themes in the book, and they really show how Dan Snyder lived his life. A Season of Loss, A Lifetime of Forgiveness certainly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval for tackling a difficult subject and presenting it so brilliantly.

And if there is one last thing I can say, I'd like to live my life like Dan Snyder did: caring, giving, and loving to all. Heroes get remembered, but legends like Dan Snyder never die.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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