Ed Snider

Ed Snider statue a special reminder for Flyers and so many more

Ed Snider statue a special reminder for Flyers and so many more

Boldly, Ed Snider will forever stand stoic and distinguished overlooking the empire he created — an iconic portrayal of a pioneer entrepreneur who exuded authority and resolve.

A statue commemorating the late Flyers founder and Comcast Spectacor chairman was unveiled Thursday, facing the southwest corner of Broad Street between the Wells Fargo Center and the previous location of The Spectrum, his two homes away from home.

“Not just the likeness but the character of Dad is so incredibly real in this sculpture that it’s almost scary,” Snider's oldest daughter Lindy Snider said. “You can see his focused and determined look and that drive in him, and we kids always called it ‘The Eye.’ And believe me, it was very scary.”


Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

The ceremony was attended by an impressive list of dignitaries, including a long list of "Broad Street Bullies," Hockey Hall of Famers and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

“He was a consummate ball of energy,” Bettman said. “Ironically, his memory will stand here idly for us all to see and to remember because he was a man who was constantly, constantly in motion, and that’s how I will always think of him and remember him.”

Philadelphia will now remember him always in the perfect spot.

“Ed Snider was a visionary,” Flyers president Paul Holmgren said. “What a fitting place for the Mr. Snider statue to be on this piece of property where he can overlook his building here, The Spectrum was behind him, and this area he envisioned — that he built for all of us.” 

For the city of Philadelphia, it has an equivalency to the Blarney Stone. Snider's family requested the inclusion of a Stanley Cup ring on Snider’s finger so fans could pay tribute to the legendary owner by rubbing the ring as a good luck charm.  


Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

Unintentionally, but certainly symbolic, Snider has his back turned to the direction of New York, home to the Rangers team he and so many of the players despised for decades.

“We all hated the Rangers in those days, probably still do,” Bob Clarke said with a laugh. “It’s a beautiful statue. It represents him so well, everything that he stood for and accomplished."

From Clarke to Bernie Parent hoisting the Stanley Cup, to Gary Dornhoefer’s legendary goal in the 1973 Stanley Cup Playoffs to Kate Smith singing “God Bless America,” all of those statues located throughout the sports complex wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for Snider’s dogged determination to bring the game of hockey to the Delaware Valley in the 1960s. 

Dillsburg, Pennsylvania’s Chad Fisher commissioned the 1,300-pound bronze statue that stands on a three-foot granite base, and over the last seven weeks it became a labor of love, working endlessly seven days a week, 12 hours a day to ensure the project’s completion.

“You’re closing in and everything needs to be solidified and you've got to look over everything,” Fisher said. “It gets very intense in the end.” 

Three and a half years ago, the 34-year-old Fisher unveiled his meticulous representation of former Flyers head coach Fred “The Fog” Shero located just outside XFINITY Live! right off Ed Snider Way. One man called upon to create a likeness of the two most influential figures in the 51-year history of the Flyers franchise. 

“We had a chance to meet with Mr. Snider during the Fred Shero unveiling, and he was so gracious to my family and I, especially my kids,” Fisher said. “This was more than just a statue. It was really a chance to do this for someone who meant something, not only to this city, but to me and my family. He really gave us our start.”

For then general managers Clarke and Holmgren, who strived to bring “one more cup” to Snider, they know the chairman would be proud of the team current GM Ron Hextall has assembled behind an organizational approach that has been radically amended over the past few years. 

“It’s not only a terrific honor, but it’s fitting and somehow it’s comforting,” Lindy Snider said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s been watching over us all along anyway, and Paul, especially you. He wants a Stanley Cup, and the pressure’s on and you’re not off the hook.”

And now there’s a likeness of Mr. Snider that will forever serve as that constant reminder.

Ed Snider's memory to be honored with statue outside Wells Fargo Center

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AP Images

Ed Snider's memory to be honored with statue outside Wells Fargo Center

Comcast Spectacor will honor the memory of legendary Flyers owner Ed Snider with a nine-foot-tall bronze statue outside of the Wells Fargo Center.

The 1,300-pound statue will be unveiled during a special ceremony on Oct. 19, the 50th anniversary of the Flyers' first-ever home game.

Comcast Spectacor president Dave Scott, Flyers president Paul Holmgren, mayor Jim Kenney and Snider’s family members will speak during the ceremony, which is free to the public.

Built by Chad Fisher of Fisher Sculpture of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, the statue took over eight months to complete, with design and layout input from Comcast Spectacor and Snider's family.

After a battle with cancer, Snider passed away on April 11, 2016. After bringing NHL hockey to Philadelphia in 1966, Snider oversaw two Stanley Cup-winning teams and was the driving force behind the construction of the Wells Fargo Center, where he will now be immortalized in bronze.

With Ed Snider Way, Snider family comforted by Philadelphia's honor

With Ed Snider Way, Snider family comforted by Philadelphia's honor

Ed Snider had an array of cars.
 
Most were expensive European sedans. A few were sports cars.
 
BMWs, Mercedes and Porsche.
 
For all the years the Flyers' late founding father turned right onto 11th Street off Pattison Avenue and then sped to his parking spot, he likely never envisioned that section of road would later bear his name: Ed Snider Way.
 
"My dad often said, 'It's my way or the highway,'" Craig Snider, one of Ed's sons, said Thursday. "Well Dad, you finally got your way, the Ed Snider Way!"
 
On a scorching hot Thursday afternoon at the corner of 11th and Pattison, the City of Philadelphia officially renamed that portion of 11th Street (south to Terminal Way) as "Ed Snider Way."
 
"I think he would have gotten such a kick out of this," Lindy Snider, Ed's first daughter, said. "This is like a road leading home."
 
The small rectangular red sign is now a permanent fixture on the bottom of the green 11th Street sign on both corners at Pattison Avenue.

"He didn't like a lot of accolades, but this is probably the most fitting tribute he could possibly think of," Lindy Snider said. "He would have loved it."

Many nights, Ed Snider and his first two children — Lindy and Jay — stayed late with their father while he worked in the bowels of the old Spectrum.
 
"This was our hood," Lindy Snider said. "We spent all of our childhood and adulthood here. To see his name in a permanent way was meaningful because we were trying to figure out what was the best way to honor him that was lasting."
 
The idea of honoring Snider's legacy with a street name was that of City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who grew up in Point Breeze, a neighborhood in South Philadelphia.
 
"I've been coming down to this part of South Philadelphia since I was a kid," Johnson said. "Whether playing at FDR Park or coming to the Spectrum … I'm privileged to honor the legend and hometown hero Ed Snider."
 
Representatives from the Snider family, the Flyers, Sixers, Phillies, Eagles, Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and Comcast Spectacor attended the event. Even the legendary Sonny Hill was there.
 
"It was a great play on words and we thought Councilman Johnson may have thought that way," Lindy Snider said. "I don't think it was a mistake that is wasn't road or boulevard. It was intentional."
 
Snider founded the Flyers in 1966 and served as club chairman.
 
The Flyers were his lifetime obsession as he transformed the Philadelphia sports landscape with hockey, the Spectrum, his many enterprises under the Spectacor and later the Comcast umbrella, all culminating with his final achievement, the ESYHF.
 
The name change was the city's idea and strongly endorsed by the Snider Family.
 
Flyers president Paul Holmgren lauded the city's efforts in making it a reality.
 
"Councilman Johnson, on behalf of the Philadelphia Flyers and Comcast Spectacor, I want to thank you for your generosity and especially, for your passion to see this through. It means a lot to us here at the Flyers," Holmgren said.
 
"Ed Snider was many things. He was a leader, a boss, a friend, a father, a grandfather. He meant a great deal to all of us, as evidenced by your presence here today.
 
"This sports complex was his vision. It's comforting to know the city recognized his contribution by dedicating a street in his honor."
 
Holmgren said present and future generations of fans will drive down Ed Snider Way and cherish the memories he left behind.
 
In the months ahead, Comcast Spectacor and the Flyers are expected to unveil a statue of Snider, somewhere outside the Wells Fargo Center.