Flyers Chairman Ed Snider Passes Away at 83
When Bobby Clarke answered the phone at his Flin Flon, Manitoba home in August 1972, he got a real good sense of who he was dealing with.
A couple of weeks earlier Clarke was at a bar drinking a beer the day before signing a five-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers when a man from the World Hockey Association, a new league set to rival the NHL, tried to pry him away with more money from the handshake deal he’d made in March.
Clarke declined, saying: “No thank you. I’m staying with the Flyers.”
Team Chairman Ed Snider got wind of the story and called Clarke to see if it was true.
“He said, ‘I’ll never forget that,’” Clarke remembered. “And he didn’t. There was never any chance that my handshake was never gonna be good or that I was gonna play in the World Hockey Association. Those were days when you shook hands, that was the deal. Not honoring it never even crossed my mind.”
With that phone call, Flyers loyalty was born.
Snider, the Flyers’ chairman and the man who helped bring the NHL to Philadelphia in 1967, died at age 83 at his home in California.
"He fought his last years, months and days with courage and grace and recounted his love for many including his Flyers family and fans," his children said in a joint statement released Monday morning. "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's health had declined since he was treated for cancer in 2014.
“He is the organization,” Clarke said. “The standards ... he set them and they were high. We had really, really good teams for years and years and years because of him. We were the first groups of players in the late ’60s, early ’70s where the families were treated special, wives and kids were treated special. In those days in the NHL, players were just players. Him and his (first) wife, Myrna, at the time went out of their way to treat everybody so well. No one wanted to leave.”
“One of the reasons why I wanted to come here was the reputation that Mr. Snider was the best owner in sports to play for,” added Danny Briere, who signed an eight-year, $52 million contract with the Flyers as a free agent in 2007. “I still believe that to this day after spending a few years with him. The way he affected my family off the ice, that’s something I’ll never be able to forget.”