Gary Bettman

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.

Jakub Voracek: NHLers in 'no-win situation' with 2018 PyeongChang Olympic argument

Jakub Voracek: NHLers in 'no-win situation' with 2018 PyeongChang Olympic argument

NEWARK, N.J. -- A showdown is looming between commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL's players over the league's non-participation in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.

On Monday, Bettman laid out his reasons (break in the schedule, time difference, financial gain, etc.) in announcing that the league will bypass the PyeongChang Winter Games.

Ironically, the league intends to go to China in 2022 because of that country's vast marketing potential. Yet the IOC has already stated that participation is arbitrary. You miss one Olympics, don't expect to attend another.

A day after the NHL's announcement, to no one's surprise, Alex Ovechkin said that regardless of what the owners do as a league, he and other Russian players intend to play for Team Russia.

"Yeah, I didn't change my mind and I won't," Ovechkin told reporters on Tuesday after the morning skate at Air Canada Centre.

Why go?

"Because it's my country," Ovechkin said. "I think everybody wants to play there. It's the biggest opportunity in your life to play in the Olympic Games. So, I don't know, somebody [is] going to tell me, 'Don't go,' I don't care, I just go."

Canadiens goalie Carey Price told the CBC: "I feel it's very disappointing. I feel like we're shortchanging some of the younger players of that opportunity. It's tough to swallow for some of those kids for sure."

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist tweeted: 

Flyers forward Jakub Voracek wants to play for the Czech Republic and sounded torn over what decision he'll make.

Is this the end, or is this more like a ploy from Bettman to get something from the players, like an extension of the current CBA?

"I don't know," Voracek replied. "I'm still hoping that somehow we'll find a way to go there. You can see every single player wants to go. But we really don't have the power."

Voracek isn't sure he would defy the league and attend, either. He said he feels loyalty to the Flyers who pay his salary.

"Tough question," he replied. "Ovechkin is a three-time Hart Trophy winner. He has a little different position than me here in Philly. It's something as a player, you consider it. But in the end, it's hard to say whether I would go over. I don't know the answer.

"If you don't go, you feel like an a------ for the Czechs. If you go, you feel like an a------ to the guys here and toward the organization. This is a no-win situation in this case, for sure."

The NHLPA clearly wants the players going to every Olympics. Part of the union's statement read:

"The players are extraordinarily disappointed and adamantly disagree with the NHL's shortsighted decision to not continue our participation in the Olympics.

"Any sort of inconvenience the Olympics may cause to next season's schedule is a small price to pay compared to the opportunity to showcase our game and our greatest players on this enormous international stage." 

Jakub Voracek lashes out at Bill Daly, Gary Bettman over Olympic indecision

Jakub Voracek lashes out at Bill Daly, Gary Bettman over Olympic indecision

TORONTO -- Commissioner Gary Bettman's stance on the NHL participation, or lack thereof, in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea hasn't changed one iota and at least one Flyer -- Jakub Voracek -- remains upset.

"It's stupid and I find it absolutely ridiculous," said Voracek, who represented the Czech Republic at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

But during this week's NHL general manager meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, Bettman didn't provide any kind of update that would have made Voracek feel any better about the situation.

"There's absolutely nothing new," Bettman told reporters.
 
"And I think the overwhelming sentiment of the teams is that it's very disruptive on the season and there's somewhere between fatigue and negativity on the subject."
 
There remains a strong consensus among players throughout the league to attend the Winter Games, regardless of the logistical issues and time differences for broadcasts of games from Pyeongchang, South Korea.
 
"Unless something changes, we're not going," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Canadian Press. "We've said that consistently for three months, so there's nothing new about that."
 
That comment, in particular, angered Voracek, who spoke to CSNPhilly.com during Thursday's morning skate hours before the Flyers' 4-2 defeat in Toronto.
 
"Absolutely ridiculous," Voracek said. "We have it once every four years. I read something that Bill Daly said we're not going. Nobody wants you to go.
 
"The players want to go. Why are you saying you're not going? You're not part of the players' association. ... Nobody wants you there. They want the players."
 
Bettman said the NHL is already putting together its schedule for next season and it doesn’t include an Olympic break.
 
Interestingly, Bettman did say that the league has strong interest in the 2022 Games in China, mentioning that those Games present the NHL with some strong business opportunities and partnerships.
 
"It's the Olympics," Voracek said. "It's not just about business. You want to be part of the Olympics. And trust me, players want to go. And the players who don't go get a week off to recharge their batteries. If you have bumps and bruises, you can heal and recover.
 
"The players want to go, I guarantee you that. I want to see how you are going to hold (Alex) Ovechkin back. The Russian players. Tell them they can't go."
 
While the NHL consistently harps on shutting down for up to 17 days, it hasn't stopped the league from going to the previous five Olympics.
 
One more thing -- that Bettman hasn't said flat-out that it's over means there is still time to salvage NHL participation.
 
After all, everything in life is negotiable.