The Philadelphia Flyers lost the face of its franchise with the passing of owner, Ed Snider, who had been battling cancer for the past two years.
In 1966, Snider and a group of investors took a chance that hockey would be embraced by the city of Philadelphia. The Flyers were founded and became part of the “Second Six” or the first expansion class in NHL history. The Flyers’ inaugural season was the first 1967-68 season, and the organization will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next season. Mr. Snider never gave up on the organization because he believed that it would succeed. The team was the first of the expansion teams to win the Stanley Cup in the 1973-74 season and then again the following season.
Mr. Snider was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. In 2005, he was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011. He also played a big part in starting the Flyers Wives Carnival, where the fans get to interact with the played while the money raised benefits Flyers Charities.
In 2005, the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation was founded, which is now Mr. Snider’s legacy. This is a way to provide inner city children in the Philadelphia area with the game of hockey. The program also reaches out to children in Camden, NJ. Mr. Snider rebuilt rinks in the area so young kids could experience the game of hockey. The foundation provides full equipment, ice time, experience coaching and is free of charge to the participants and families.
In addition to hockey skills, Snider Hockey also instills the importance of academics and hard work. The participants must keep their grades up in order to play in the games and activities. If a student is struggling in a specific class, the program offers tutoring to help the child get its grades up and back on the ice. The program offers public skating and learn-to-skate classes. The coaches and volunteers take the time to help the kids be fitted properly for equipment and skates. The players will sometimes make surprise visits and help out with coaching and instructing the kids.
Mr. Snider was the Philadelphia Flyers and the Philadelphia Flyers are him. On Saturday, the Flyers clinched the playoffs for the 38th time in 48 seasons. The playoffs start Thursday night, and the team will no doubt be thinking of him as they begin the journey to the Stanley Cup.