Ed Snider, the man who founded and still owned the Philadelphia Flyers, died on Monday after a two-year battle with cancer.
He was 83.
Snider founded the team in 1966 during the NHL's expansion from the Original Six and was the driving force behind its Stanley Cup victories in 1974 and 1975. He inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
He was remembered in the hockey world for his passion for the game and his efforts to make the Flyers a larger part of the Philadelphia community.
“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," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “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.
“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.”
“Today, the Philadelphia Flyers, the city of Philadelphia and the National Hockey League have lost a true icon," said team president Paul Holmgren. "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.”
Snider was a constant presence around the team. Two days before his passing, his absence during Philadelphia's playoff-clinching celebration was palpable according to Flyers beat writer Sam Donellton.
"In better health, he would have been in the locker room after Saturday's 3–1 victory over Pittsburgh, congratulating individually every player from Claude Giroux to Ryan White, issuing unfettered optimism about his latest team's chances in some crowded corner of that room, referencing some season in the franchise's 49-year history, providing detail as if it occurred the previous season."
"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," his family offered in a statement. "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."
The Flyers will open their first-round series against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
There will be a public remembrance ceremony at the Wells Fargo Center in the near future to celebrate Mr. Snider’s life. Our condolences to his family and friends and Flyers fans everywhere.