Philadelphia Flyers chairman and founder Ed Snider has died at age 83, the team announced Monday. He’s remembered as one of those rare builders whose impact on a city and franchise will last a very long time.
Snider was chairman of Comcast Spectacor, owner of the Flyers, the Wells Fargo Center, Comcast SportsNet and Global Spectrum. He was also briefly the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers.
His legacy wasn’t just bringing NHL hockey to Philadelphia, seeing it grow and seeing the Stanley Cup come to the City of Brotherly Love. He also wanted to build the game and the community, putting together initiatives like the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, which is familiar to anyone who has watched a Flyers home broadcast.
You’ll see some great Snider stories, but he wanted @SniderHockey to be his legacy. Said “That’s the only thing I’ve ever put my name on.”
— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) April 11, 2016
Snider had been battling bladder cancer for some time and the struggle became dire in recent months. Snider wasn’t a part of the team photo this year for the first time in team history.
Beloved by the players who wore the “P,” his health has fueled some of his players to push for the 38th playoff berth in team history. They got that playoff berth in the season’s final days.
From the team’s announcement:
Mr. Snider was an icon – the father of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey club, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a risk-taker and a true visionary in the sports and entertainment industry. He was widely respected and admired for his passion, his vision, and his leadership, not only on the ice, but in the game of life as well.
Snider helped found the team back in 1966 and has been instrumental in keeping the franchise in town and thriving.
Philadelphia Flyers President Paul Holmgren offered a statement:
Today, the Philadelphia Flyers, the city of Philadelphia and the National Hockey League have lost a true icon. Mr. Snider is the face of the Flyers franchise. He is revered and loved by all of his current and former players and has the utmost respect of the entire hockey world. Mr. Snider’s passion and drive to be the best has made the Flyers brand one of the most recognizable in all of sports. His desire to always have the best team possible for this city and for our fans is a true testament to his passion for the Flyers and his will to win. On this sad day, our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Snider’s wife, Lin; his children — Craig, Jay, Lindy, Tina, Sarena and Sam; as well as all of his grandchildren. Mr. Snider will be truly missed by all of us but his spirit along with the culture he created and instilled will live on with the Flyers organization forever.
Commissioner Gary Bettman also released a statement about Snider’s friendship and ability as a key builder in the hockey world.
Ed Snider was the soul and the spirit of the Flyers, who have reflected his competitiveness, his passion for hockey and his love for the fans from the moment he brought NHL hockey to Philadelphia in 1967.
Ed created the Flyers’ professional, no-nonsense culture, fostered their relentless will to win and set the highest standards for every activity on and off the ice, including such initiatives as the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and the Flyers Wives Carnival. While the loss of Ed Snider tears a hole in the heart of the Flyers and the city of Philadelphia, and leaves a massive void in the city’s sports landscape, it also challenges all who knew him to carry forward the great works that are his legacy.
On a personal note, I have valued Ed’s counsel, I have admired his philanthropy and truly have cherished his friendship. Ed was an unmistakable presence and an unforgettable personality. Like most people who had the pleasure of knowing Ed, I will miss him terribly.
As the NHL family grieves Ed’s passing, we also celebrate his courage, his vision, his leadership and his commitment to future generations of players and fans. We send our thoughts of compassion, comfort and strength to his family, his friends and all whose lives he touched.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.