A true legend of the National Hockey League has passed away.
Philadelphia Flyers owner, leader, and perhaps most importantly of all Flyers founder, Ed Snider, has passed away at the age of 83 after losing his two year long battle with bladder cancer. It was no secret around the league that Mr. Snider was in bad shape as of late, and many credit his will to continue fighting as a major motivating factor for players like Wayne Simmonds this season, and it's even been argued that it was what drove Philadelphia's incredible late season resurgence that allowed for a playoff push.
Ed Snider's children released the following statement via the Flyers' website:
“We are deeply saddened to announce that our father, Ed Snider has died after a two year battle with cancer. He was 83.
Our Dad was loved and admired for his big heart, generosity of spirit, and dedication to his family. Despite his considerable business achievements and public profile, he was first and foremost a family man. He never missed a birthday, important family event or the opportunity to offer encouragement. We turned first to him for advice in our personal and professional lives. We grew up tagging behind him in arenas, stadiums and locker rooms; and his players, management and team personnel were our extended family. He treated his employees with respect regardless of rank or position, and the man they called “Mr. Snider” always would have preferred simply to be called “Ed.”
From him we learned the importance of helping others and the value of supporting our community and beyond. He was a man with deep convictions and never hesitated to promote causes in which he believed. His children and grandchildren will continue his philanthropic mission for years to come through the work of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (Snider Hockey) and the Snider Foundation. Revered in his adopted city of Philadelphia, we too were captive in the orbit of his brilliant light and magnetic personality.
During his lifetime, he cultivated a cherished circle of friends whom he loved dearly--and who loved him back--whether in Washington, DC, Monmouth, Maine, Philadelphia or Montecito,
California. Unrivaled, however, was his love for the Philadelphia Flyers Hockey Club, the team he created 50 years ago and to which he remained fiercely devoted through his final days. With every game during the push to make the playoffs this spring we hoped he would survive to see the Flyers win just one more game. He gave the last ounce of his indomitable energy and strength to live through this hockey season, but now the Flyers must win without him.
He fought his last years, months and days with courage and grace and recounted his love for many including his Flyers family and fans. We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the community, his friends and all those who were fortunate to have been touched by him in some way, large or small.”
Snider founded the Flyers' in 1966 and was one of the most involved and hands on owner's in the entire league, and arguably one of the most passionate in the game. Snider's leadership led the team to two Stanley Cup Championships during his time as owner, and while there were certainly bad decisions made by the Flyers that came down from ownership, his love for his team and his desire to win can never be questioned.
NHL comissioner Gary Bettman also released a statement today:
“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.”
During Snider's over 40 plus years as the figurehead of the Philadelphia Flyers he has worked tirelessly to grow the sport of hockey, especially in the Philadelphia community, and his loss will felt the most by that community. While there is plenty of reason to mourn the death of a man like Ed Snider, we also encourage you to take some time and celebrate his life today.
The hockey world has lost an icon of the sport, and we may never see another like him again, rest well Mr. Snider.