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Ed Snider, founder of Philadelphia Flyers, dead at 83

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Flyers founder Ed Snider was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.Matt Rourke/AP

Flyers founder Ed Snider was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

Ed Snider, the Philadelphia Flyers’ founder and chairman, died Monday morning at the age of 83 from complications related to a battle with cancer, the team announced.

Snider, also Comcast Spectacor’s chairman, founded the Flyers in 1966. The franchise won its only two Stanley Cups back-to-back in 1974 and 1975 playing at the Spectrum in South Philly. Now, Snider’s Flyers will open the Stanley Cup Playoffs Thursday night in Washington, just three days after the club’s owner’s passing.

Snider was known for giving back in the community, through the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and the Philadelphia Flyers charities, to which the club is requesting contributions in lieu of flowers. As Flyers governor, he was a major influence in NHL owners’ positions on collective bargaining with the NHL Players’ Association.

The team said funeral services will be private, but there will be a public remembrance ceremony at Wells Fargo Center in the near future to celebrate Snider’s life.

“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,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “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.”

Bettman added: “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.”

Former Flyers forward and current team president Paul Holmgren said in a statement: “Mr. Snider is the face of the Flyers franchise. He is revered and loved by all of his current and former players and has the utmost respect of the entire hockey world … On this sad day, our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Snider’s wife, Lin; his children — Craig, Jay, Lindy, Tina, Sarena and Sam; as well as all of his grandchildren. Mr. Snider will be truly missed by all of us but his spirit along with the culture he created and instilled will live on with the Flyers organization forever.”

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