Eagles Mourn The Loss Of Ed Snider
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Legendary Flyers chairman Ed Snider passed away at the age of 83 early Monday morning, just two days after his beloved team succeeded on an unlikely playoff push to end the 2015-16 NHL regular season.
"Our Dad was loved and admired for his big heart, generosity of spirit, and dedication to his family," his children said in a statement released by the Flyers. "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.”
Snider, who co-founded the Flyers and also ran the Sixers for years under the Comcast banner, ultimately lost his two-year battle with bladder cancer. Most people don't know, however, that Snider got his start in Philadelphia professional sports as the treasurer and vice president of the Eagles before the opportunity came along to garner an NHL expansion team NHL back in 1967.
The legend says that less than 50 people showed up for a parade to welcome the Flyers franchise to the city and in less than seven years 2 million or so were there to celebrate the first of two consecutive Stanley Cups. By 1998 Snider was in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Although he never got to see a third Stanley Cup many current team members pointed to Snider's failing health as an inspiration for their unlikely run to the postseason.
"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," Snider's children wrote. "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 transcended his first love, hockey, with both his philanthropy and his undying love for Philadelphia sports.
“Ed was a true visionary and a pioneer who did tremendous things for our city and for the sport of hockey," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. "He was driven by a relentless pursuit of winning and his passion for the sport was genuine. That’s one of the reasons I think 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.
"Under Ed’s guidance, the Flyers became one of the most consistently successful franchises in the NHL, and he used his leadership to help foster a classy organization across the board. But perhaps more than anything, I think the legacy that Ed will leave behind is his commitment to helping young people in our city succeed in life through his youth hockey foundation. Our thoughts are with his family and the entire Flyers organization during this difficult time.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen