Ed Snider, the founding owner and chairman of the Philadelphia Flyers, has passed away at the age of 83. He had been battling cancer for two years. In a statement released through the Flyers' website, his children said the following:
"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."
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1933, Snider founded the Flyers back in 1966, when the NHL expanded from six teams to 12. Philadelphia began play in 1966-67 and became the first expansion team to win a Stanley Cup in 1974, repeating as champs the next season.
Snider was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and under his stewardship, the Flyers have produced some of the most memorable talents in the NHL. Along with great coaches and managers such as Keith Allen, Fred Shero, Pat Quinn, Mike Keenan, Roger Neilson and Ken Hitchcock, Snider oversaw the creation of the intimidating Broad Street Bullies, led by Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and Bernie Parent – not to mention the tough guys that gave credence to the name, such as Dave 'The Hammer' Schultz and Andre 'Moose' Dupont.
While the back-to-back Cups in the 1970s would be the only championships in Philadelphia to date, the Flyers have been to the final on six other occasions. The only prolonged playoff drought in franchise history came in the early 1990s when the team missed the post-season five times in a row.
Snider has also been one of the most powerful men in hockey for years, often appearing on THN's People of Power list in a high slot. Along with being a trusted voice for commissioner Gary Bettman on the Board of Governors, Snider has been part of the influential executive committee and the competition committee, which spearheads rule changes.
He also made sure to invest back in Philadelphia through the Ed Snider Hockey Foundation, which provides opportunities for underserved children to play the game Snider loved so much and reap the benefits that come through sports and physical activity.
Bettman also released a statement on Snider's passing this morning, which included the following:
"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."