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Flyers Owner Ed Snider Passes Away

Ed Snider  (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Ed Snider (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)


Philadelphia Flyers owner, chairman and founder, Ed Snider, passed away on Monday at the age of 83 years old.

Snider had been battling cancer. National Hockey League Commissioner, Gary Bettman said, “Ed Snider was the soul and spirit of the Flyers, who have reflected his competiveness, his passion for hockey and his love for the fans from the moment he brought NHL hockey to Philadelphia in 1967.”

Bettman added, “Ed created the Flyers, no 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 such as the Ed Snider youth Hockey Foundation and the Flyers Wives Carnival.” He also noted that the loss of Snider, not only tears a hole in the hearts of the Flyers and city of Philadelphia, it also leaves a void in the sports landscape of that city.

Snider is survived by his six children, Craig, Jay, Lindy, Tina, Sarena and Samuel, as well as his 15 grandchildren and his wife Lin Spivak. Spivak said, “I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and admiration for Ed, he was a man of tremendous vitality. At the core he was a wonderful family man, he loved his children and his grandchildren, and they truly loved him.”

Spivak added, “I join them in expressing gratitude today to all of those who have expressed their thoughts and feelings and feelings about Ed.”

Snider’s children also released a statement saying, “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, an important family event or the opportunity to offer encouragement.”

They added, “We turned to him for advice in our personal and professional lives. We grew up tagging behind him in arenas, stadiums and lockerrooms; 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.”

Hall of Fame center, Bobby Clarke told that the relationship he had had with Snider was “Somewhere between close friends and father and son.” Clarke added, “He was not only a good friend but he was also a great man. And I know that it has been said about a lot of people, but those of us who played in Philadelphia know great does describe him.”    

The Flyers clinched the playoffs on Saturday night, and although Snider was not physically in the building to watch his team defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center 3-1, anthem singer Lauren Hart used Facetime to help him be a part of the pre-game festivities.

Hart told, “If Ed Snider could not be in the building, I am bringing the building to him.”

Flyers captain, Claude Giroux tweeted that he was privileged to have met Snider and that he will be missed. Team President, Paul Holmgren said, “For all of us, he is the Flyers. He is the face of the Flyers. He is, he was and he always will be.”

Snider, Jerry Wolman and the rest of their group was awarded a “Second Six” expansion team 50 years ago by the NHL Board of Governors. The group paid two million dollars for the franchise and invested 12 million dollars into building the Spectrum, the team’s home arena until the 1995-1996 season, before moving across the parking lot into their current home, the Wells Fargo Center. Snider’s love of hockey stemmed from watching the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden and believing that Philadelphia fans would learn to embrace a hockey team as well.

The first game in Flyers history drew a crowd of 7,812 people. Snider had said at that that time, “I just had the belief that if you are a regular guy and you know what regular guys like, you can’t be wrong.”

The Flyers made the playoffs in three of their first five seasons, but failed to win a round. The Spectrum went into bankruptcy during that time. Even though Snider had been trying to establish a firm foundation with the Flyers, he took a gamble by taking control of the arena from Wolman, along with the eight-million-dollar debt it came with.

Back in 1986, Snider told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the reason he had done that was because he had believed the Flyers and the Spectrum could not fail. He said, “I knew if I worked hard, stuck it out, that I would succeed. Thank God that is what happened.”

The Flyers became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup, doing so in 1973-1974 and then again the following season. Snider’s influence as a businessman extended beyond the realm of hockey though. He was the Chairman of Comcast Spectacor, the Sports and Entertainment Company that had had controlled the Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers of National Basketball Association, the Wells Fargo Center and the regional sports network that televised their games.

Comcast Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brian Roberts said, “This is a very sad day for Ed’s family, the Flyers, Comcast Spectacor and many of his fans in Philadelphia. Our business partnership lasted more than 20 years, which seemed improbable at the time, and ultimately transcended into a cherished and special relationship.” Roberts added, “We are so sad but relish the many accomplishments Ed achieved during his amazing lifetime. He was completely unique, incredibly passionate and will be terribly missed.”

Snider was born January 6, 1933 in Washington, DC the son of a successful grocery store chain. He earned a degree in accounting from the University of Maryland. After working briefly as a certified public accountant, he became the first President of the National Association of Record Merchandisers. His company, Edge Enterprises, went national before selling it for a significant profit.

Soon after selling his company, he joined his brother-in-law and Washington area builder Wolman in purchasing the National Football League’s, Philadelphia Eagles, taking over the business operations.

Current Eagles Owner and CEO said, “Ed was a true pioneer and visionary who did tremendous things for our city and for the sport of hockey. He was driven by a relentless pursuit of winning and his passion for the sports was genuine.” He added, “That is one of the reasons why he was so loved and respected by the fans of our city and by his players and staff. They knew he cared just as much as they did.”

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