Flyers chairman Snider battling cancer

Flyers chairman Ed Snider. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Flyers chairman Ed Snider. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Posted: May 31, 2014

Ed Snider, who brought hockey to Philadelphia in 1967 as founder of the Flyers, is battling an unspecified cancer and completed chemotherapy this week, according to several sources.

"He's going to work every day and it's treatable," a source in the organization said.

The condition is "non-life-threatening" and Snider is "doing well," said Ike Richman, a spokesman for Comcast-Spectacor, the Flyers' parent company. "He is happy and healthy."

Snider's involvement with the team and the company was not affected by his condition or treatment, Richman said. He added that the team would not comment further.

Snider, 81, looked fit and trim and was in feisty spirits at a May 7 news conference that introduced Ron Hextall as the Flyers' general manager and Paul Holmgren as club president.

The chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, Snider was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and serves on the NHL's executive committee. His net worth is $2.5 billion, according to celebritynetworth.com. Snider owns 37 percent of Comcast-Spectacor, Forbes reported last season, adding that the Flyers were worth $500 million.

Under Snider, the Flyers have been one of the NHL's most successful teams during the regular season, but they have not won a Stanley Cup since 1975. Since winning their first Cup in 1974, the Flyers have reached the Finals eight times, the most of any NHL franchise in that span.

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Flyers' first Stanley Cup, Snider took part in a conference call with reporters May 16. He said he was disappointed that it has been so long between championships, but talked about the team's getting close on several occasions.

"While we didn't win the other six times in the Stanley Cup Final, we've reached the Final three times in the 1980s, once in the 1990s, [and] in 2010," he said. "I think it's a pretty damn good record and one I'm very proud of."

In recent years, Snider's work in bringing hockey to inner-city youths has given him the most satisfaction.

The Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation provides children from Philadelphia and Camden with the chance to learn how to play hockey. The foundation partnered with Philadelphia and the state and completed a $14 million construction project in which four Philadelphia rinks were refurbished for year-round use.

The public/private partnership was initiated by Snider, who spent about $7 million on the project, while the city and state combined for roughly $7 million.

"We took over these rinks when the city was going to close them," Snider said in 2012.

Each rink includes newly constructed classrooms and learning labs for year-round, after-school programs, designed to help students in their schoolwork.

"You see them graduate and have the opportunity to go to college - and a lot of them wouldn't have finished [high] school," Snider said in a 2012 interview. "When you're changing lives, I don't know what can be more satisfying."

Named the first winner of the newly created Ed Snider Lifetime Humanitarian Award by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association in 2013, Snider added that he wanted his work with youths "to be my legacy. I want it to go on forever."

Snider and his wife, Lin, live in suburban Philadelphia, and they also have a home in California. Snider has six children and 15 grandchildren. One of his sons, Jay, served as the Flyers' president from 1983 to 1994 and is now CEO of the Airsoft Megastore, a Southern California online retailer that specializes in air guns for sport, according to its website.

scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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