Ed Snider was the kind of owner professional athletes dream of playing for. A passionate sports fan devoted to his players and team, Snider co-founded the Philadelphia Flyers in 1967, then built the famous Spectrum arena in Philadelphia and a media empire (Comcast-Spectacor) to make sure his Flyers were seen by everyone who cared to watch. A billionaire, Snider died of cancer this week at age 83. His passing ends an era that defined a large part of the NHL and influenced Philadelphia sports immeasurably. In 1974, the Flyers became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup.
The Flyers repeated the feat the next year — and they won the hearts (and enmity) of fans (and enemies) throughout the country. Back in the rough-and-tumble helmet-less era, the upstart Flyers were nicknamed the Broad Street Bullies for their unrelenting style of play and take-no-prisoners attitude — a reflection of their owner’s passion, enthusiasm and ambition. “He was a great owner and it wasn’t just because he wanted to win all the time,” said Bob Clarke, captain of the Stanley Cup champion Flyers of the 70s. Snider was a generous man beyond his renowned straight-shooting with his professional players, too. He founded the Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, which introduced at-risk kids to the game.