It’s with great sadness today that I am writing this about the Flyers longtime founder Ed Snider. As everyone knows, Mr. Snider passed this morning after a 2 year battle with cancer. Originally, I planned to put together a playoff preview for today, but that can wait now as we’ll take this time to look back on the indelible mark Snider left on the Philadelphia sports scene.No one best embodied Philadelphia sports fandom better than Snider. At his roots, this man understood the dynamic between a raucous fan base and their love affair with sports. He understood that putting a consistent winner on the ice would cure all troubles. Mr. Snider never seemed bigger than his fans as he was one himself, motivated only by the desire to win and bring championships back to the city of brotherly love. What Mr. Snider brought to Philadelphia both in the sports realm and otherwise, will not be duplicated again. Not one franchise in this city has accomplished more than the Flyers in their first 49 years of existence. We have their founder and figure head to thank for that.
Even in wake of a longstanding cup drought and a series of shortsighted moves prior to the last 2 seasons, Snider always had the best interest of the team and its fans at heart. The Flyers took on the passionate intensity of their owner over the years, making them the best representation of what it means to be a proud, hard-working Philadelphian. Today is a sad day to be a fan of this franchise, because I know Ed Snider gave a damn about this team as much as I did and in a world where professional sports is dominated by this “what’s best for business” mantra, the fans were made to feel like they were a part of the Flyers family.
My fandom in particular with Snider’s Flyers goes back to the Broad Street Bullies era of the franchise, where my mother would often play street hockey as a girl with the boys in the neighborhood, donning her Bobby Clarke t-shirt and old-school goalie mask that my grandfather insisted she wear so she didn’t get hurt. From there, I learned about the Flyers through those stories and by 1998, after seeing the Legion of Doom for the first time, I taught myself how to skate. My cousin Danny and I would play in his driveway on Monmouth Street for hours at a time, pretending to be Lindros, LeClair, Brind’Amour or whoever else we felt like being that day.
Later my mother and I even converted my father, who was a lifetime baseball fan, into a Flyers fan after sitting him down to watch the 1999 Stanley Cup final between the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars. He was hooked after that.
None of this would have happened, however, if it weren’t for the Godfather of Philadelphia hockey. Thank you and Godspeed, Mr. Ed Snider. May you rest in peace.