May 8, 2005
World Championship Flashback: Dany Heatley

Dany Heatley

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With more than two dozen former collegians slated to participate in the 2005 IIHF World Championship, our former college hockey heroes will be trying to make memories on one of the sport's biggest stages. With that in mind, Inside College Hockey takes this opportunity to reflect on some of those players' memorable college moments.

When people asked me to reflect on Dany Heatley, my thoughts immediately go back to the first time I saw him play. Everyone in hockey had talked about him so I was familiar with Dany and knew his dad, Murray quite well, when my assistant coach Pat Ford and I drove to Olds, Alberta, north of Calgary. The game was tied, 3-3, going into the third period and five minutes later, Heatley had two goals, was the most dominant player on the ice and his team was in control of the game.

I turned to Pat and said, "Boy, I'm glad he's coming to Wisconsin and not anywhere else.''

As his coach I remember his work ethic not just in games, but how he was the last one off the ice in practice and I remember his confidence. He wasn't cocky, but he was as confident as any 18-year-old I've coached and such a good kid.

In one of his first meeting with me on campus, I asked Dany what number he wanted to wear. He said "44" I told him I really didn't like Wisconsin players wearing those high numbers and I asked him why he picked 44. "Well,'' he said, "that's the number of goals I'm going to score this year.''

Heatley had 28 goals as a freshman, so he could back up the confidence and big talk.

As to my favorite goal? It came against North Dakota in front of a packed house at the Kohl Center. He turned a defenseman, actually a forward playing defense, inside out with a move that brought everyone out of their chairs. It was a big goal in a big game and that is what Dany is all about a big-time player.

— Jeff Sauer

Sauer, who coached countless NHL stars at Wisconsin, writes a column for Inside College Hockey called The Dean's List.

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