He’s been in the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1988, but now he’s been inducted to the US Hockey Hall of Fame. He’s been a damn good owner so far, even though there have been quite a few speed bumps along the way.
First of all, he put the Philadelphia Flyers on the map. This town wasn’t exactly a hockey market when the NHL decided to expand, and Ed brought us a team. Look where we are now, over 40 years later. We have one of the most loyal fanbases in the league. Our team is always a favorite to win, and always in contention. We were the first team outside of the original six to win a Stanley Cup. And without a strong owner who is involved and cares about the franchise, this wouldn’t be possible.
His biggest criticism has always been the fact that he takes the team in a different direction than which the team is headed. He let Bob Clarke remain as the GM for far too long. By doing this, he allowed the team to sign aging, slow, over-the-hill players rather than develop youth. We traded away young prospects at the first sign of trouble, rather than waiting until they flourish. But then again, he’s always wanted the team to win now. There were no plans to prepare for the future. It was always about trying to win immediately, and also setting up for the next few seasons.
Still, it’s his loyalty that has made the Flyers a model franchise. Despite the reputation that the city has as a tough sports own, players still want to come here. And that’s because of the culture of the franchise. Once you’re in, and you do something, you’re taken care of for life. The team harbors a family atmosphere. Look at all the former great players that still have some role with the team. Look at how many lesser talented guys were given chance to do something here, and used it as a spring board for bigger and better things. All of this exists because we have an owner who cares.
He let’s the people in charge do their jobs. He’s involved, but I don’t know to what extent. He didn’t trade Carter and Richards, but he allowed it to happen because the people he pays to make the personnel decisions convinced him that it was the right time for these moves. Whether that turns out to be true, time will tell. But it shows that we have an owner willing to let people do their jobs. I’m sure he tells Paul Holmgren what kind of team he wants, but he remains hands-off, allowing Homer to craft the team as he sees fit.
So while I’m not always a fan of everything the team does, and I won’t hesitate to criticize when I see fit, I still like having Mr. Snider as our owner. He gets it. He knows what sells, he cares about the teams fortunes. And he does what he thinks is best for us. The fact the team has made him a few bucks along the years is great. He deserves it for what he’s given our city. Congrats on the latest honor, Ed.
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