TORONTO -- Atlanta Thrashers forward Dany Heatley agreed to contract terms Wednesday with Bern in Switzerland to play with the club during the NHL lockout.
Heatley's representatives notified justice officials in Atlanta, where the right wing still faces charges of vehicular homicide and five other counts resulting from last year's car accident that killed Thrashers teammate Dan Snyder.
"There's nothing preventing him from going out and earning a living for himself," Heatley's agent Stacey McAlpine told The Canadian Press on Wednesday from Calgary, Alberta. "We've always made those people aware of what's been going on or at least what the possibilities are -- just out of common courtesy. So we've done that."
Heatley faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and fines totaling $5,000 if he's convicted on all six counts. He has a court date slated for Nov. 29 in Atlanta but he might not have to appear in person.
"My understanding is that his rights can be waived as long as there is representation there," McAlpine said.
Heatley, 23, had 13 goals and 12 assists in 31 games last season after recovering from a serious knee injury sustained in the Sept. 29, 2003, car crash that killed Snyder.
Heatley, chosen second overall by the Thrashers in the 2000 NHL entry draft, is a restricted free agent.
He was indicted July 16 by a Fulton County grand jury, charged with first- and second-degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain his lane and speeding.
Police say Heatley was driving his black Ferrari convertible between 60 and 90 mph in a 35-mph zone on a curved road in a residential area when he crashed into a brick pillar and iron fence.
Snyder, 25, died after six days in a coma.
Heatley broke his jaw and tore two ligaments in his knee, but he returned to play with the Thrashers in January.
In Switzerland, he will renew his partnership with Daniel Briere, the Buffalo Sabres center who also agreed Wednesday to join Bern. The players were on the same forward line at the 2003 and 2004 world championships, leading Canada to the gold medal in both tournaments.
Briere played two games with Bern two weeks ago before returning to Buffalo to attend to personal matters. He had 65 points in 82 regular-season games last season, and was due to earn $2.55 million with the Sabres this season.
Earlier Wednesday, veteran defenseman Patrice Brisebois of the Montreal Canadiens joined Kloten, and center Derek Armstrong of the Los Angeles Kings signed with Geneva-Servette, both in Switzerland.
More than 25 percent of the NHL's 750 or so players are now playing in Europe, the majority of them with clauses that permit them to return to North America if and when the NHL lockout ends.
The NHL regular season was scheduled to open Wednesday night with a seven-game schedule, but that was canceled because of the labor dispute between the league and the players association.
No talks are scheduled between the sides that haven't met since Sept 9, one week before the lockout was imposed by commissioner Gary Bettman.
now switzerland has 4 players from Atlanta = sutton,savard,Robitallie and Heatley