Snider to enter U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Monday afternoon that chairman Ed Snider is an inductee for the 2011 class of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

In a sense, the selection of the man intent on protecting his singular legacy as the person who made the Flyers what they are today was inevitable, but it was still a shockingly long time in coming. Snider was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder way back in 1988, while he still held considerable sway over Flyers business and also that of the NHL’s Board of Governors.  

Snider, who has been the face of the franchise since its 1967 inception, will be the first member of the Flyers organization to earn HOF honors for American hockey — since Bob Clarke, Bill Barber and Bernie Parent, all previous members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, are Canadian-born and trained.

The 78-year-old native of Washington, D.C. was a football-trained businessman who got involved in professional hockey in Philadelphia through his position as part-owner of the Philadelphia Eagles in the mid 1960s. Through his vision, the Spectrum took shape and was built in less than a year, the Flyers took seven years from their first NHL game to their first Stanley Cup, and the franchise rose from an expansion afterthought to one of the most successful in league history.

From the USHOF:

Ed Snider‘s contribution to the success of hockey in Philadelphia and the Atlantic region of the United States is immeasurable. In 1966, the founder and current owner of the Philadelphia Flyers made a successful bid for the team when the NHL made its first expansion, and has since turned the organization into one of the most successful franchises in the league.

His commitment to advancing the game at the amateur level is evidenced in many ways, including in 2005 when he founded the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation to provide unprivileged children in the Philadelphia area with an opportunity to learn to play hockey at local rinks. In 2008, the Snider Hockey Foundation rescued three of the five Philadelphia inner-city ice-skating rinks that had been targeted for closure by funding and operating them for the city.

The Foundation now funds and administers programming in all five city rinks. Snider was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. He is the current chairman of Comcast Spectacor.

Snider will be joined by Mike “Doc” Emrick, late of New Jersey Devils broadcasts, Chris Chelios, Gary Suter and Keith Tkachuk.

Located in Buffalo with a museum at Eveleth, Minnesota, the U.S. HOF inducted Art Berglund, Jeremy Roenick, Derian/Kevin Hatcher and Doc Nagobads of the Miracle on Ice Olympic squad in 2010.