Snider proud of youth hockey accomplishments

Renovations are in progress on the rink at Simons Recreation Center in Kensington.
Renovations are in progress on the rink at Simons Recreation Center in Kensington. (PHOTO: Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation)
Posted: May 12, 2011

His money has helped finance two arenas and purchased big chunks of two of this city's four professional sports teams. But until a few city rinks were on the verge of shutting down 3 years ago, Ed Snider's name was implied not stated around town.

"I kept asking what I could do to help with inner-city kids," he said. "Because I think it's a disgrace in all of our cities what has happened."

The result was a $6.5 million contribution by the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation to refurbish three local rinks, matching the Commonwealth's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The $13 million will be used to completely renovate and enclose three city-owned public skating rinks to make them fully operational on a year-round basis.

The rinks are the Scanlon Ice Rink, the Laura Sims Skatehouse at Cobbs Creek, and the Rink at Simons Recreation and Teen Access Center. Rizzo Rink and Tarken Rink also will be upgraded through the program.

Snider is scheduled to appear at the Sims rink today to assess the progress in enclosing the facility, which will allow it to be used 24/7 for "learn to skate" programs, public skating opportunities, ice hockey instruction and league play, including all equipment. The after-school program of Snider Hockey is expected to double from its current capacity of 2,500 kids once all three rinks are enclosed.

Said Recreation Commissioner Susan Slawson, "What has impressed me most about Snider Hockey is the way it intertwines supplemental educational services, including its nationally acclaimed life skills curriculum, with the delivery of its daily on-ice programs."

"The partnership that Ed Snider and his foundation have forged with the City of Philadelphia should serve as a model for other NHL franchises and cities," said Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League. "Snider Hockey has successfully found a way to make the great sport of hockey available to everyone. This is a remarkable story."

"The thing is, it wasn't done to make hockey players," Snider said. "I was using the sport of hockey to accomplish another goal. We help these kids with their homework, teach them life skills, get them tutors. They have to have good grades to stay in the program.

"It's a wonderful program. And I think, without question, one of them will end up in the National Hockey League. Because these kids are getting more ice time then the kids in the suburbs."

The enclosures are to be completed by November and will include space for public meetings and other related community functions, as well as classrooms to accommodate tutorial assistance for all program participants and community residents.

"The rinks are the only thing I've put my name on," Snider said. "And the reason I did is that I want them to be my legacy. When I'm gone. They're very important to me."

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