Ed Snider, the owner and founder of the Philadelphia Flyers for 50 years, died 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 his Flyers won Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman issued a statement on the passing of the Flyers' chairman and governor.
"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," Bettman said. "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.
"On a personal note, I have valued Ed's counsel, I have admired his philanthropy and truly have cherished his friendship. Ed was an unmistakable presence and an unforgettable personality. Like most people who had the pleasure of knowing Ed, I will miss him terribly. 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."
Snider is survived by his six children, Craig, Jay, Lindy, Tina, Sarena and Samuel, as well as 15 grandchildren, and his wife Lin Spivak.
The Flyers issued a statement written by Snider's children.
"Our Dad was loved and admired for his big heart, generosity of spirit, and dedication to his family," they wrote. "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.' ...
"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. 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."
The Flyers clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday. Prior to the game, anthem singer Lauren Hart had Snider on FaceTime on her mobile phone so he could be part of the pregame festivities.
The Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils released a statement from managing general partner Josh Harris.
"It is with a great deal of sadness that we mourn the loss of one of Philadelphia's greatest ambassadors and humanitarians, Ed Snider," Harris said. "Ed continually poured his heart into making a difference in the lives of those around him and he stopped at nothing to make the city of Philadelphia a better place for everyone. He leaves behind a legacy of civic pride, charitable acts and philanthropy that is truly unmatched."