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Ed Snider photographed by Michael Alan Goldberg
|Born||Edward Malcolm Snider
January 6, 1933
Washington, D.C., United States
|Died||April 11, 2016
Montecito, California, United States
|Cause of death||Bladder cancer|
|Education||University of Maryland|
|Spouse(s)||Myrna Gordon (divorced)
Martha McGeary (divorced)
Christine Decroix (divorced)
Lin Spivak (2013–his death)
|Children||4 with Myrna Snider
2 with Martha McGeary
Edward Malcolm "Ed" Snider (January 6, 1933 – April 11, 2016) was the chairman of Comcast Spectacor, a Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company that owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League; the Wells Fargo Center; the regional sports network Comcast SportsNet; and Global Spectrum, an international facilities management company. He formerly owned the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, and was part-owner of the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League.
Snider was born to a Jewish family in the Washington, D.C. region, the son of a grocery-store chain owner. He attended the University of Maryland and earned his bachelor's degree. He later became a partner in Edge Ltd., a record company.
After selling the company, Snider joined Jerry Wolman (builder) and his brother-in-law Earl Foreman (attorney) to buy the Philadelphia Eagles in 1964. He was given a 7% stake in the team, and served as vice president and treasurer.
Upon learning that the NHL was planning to expand, Snider made plans for a new arena—the Spectrum—to house both a hockey team and the 76ers. On February 8, 1966, the NHL awarded Philadelphia a conditional franchise, one which would eventually be named the Philadelphia Flyers and start playing in 1967. Snider assumed control of the Spectrum in 1971, taking over as chairman of the board. In 1974 Snider created Spectacor as a holding company for the Flyers and the Spectrum. The Flyers became the first NHL expansion team to win the Stanley Cup in 1974, and to repeat as champions in 1975.
Spectacor would found or acquire several businesses under his direction, most notably a regional premium cable channel, PRISM, and the first all-sports radio station, WIP. Seeing that a new arena would keep the Flyers competitive with the rest of the league, Snider began planning for what would become the CoreStates Center (now the Wells Fargo Center) in 1988.
Prior to the Wells Fargo Center's opening in 1996, he sold a 66% stake in Spectacor to Philadelphia-based Comcast, creating Comcast Spectacor. However, Snider remained chairman of the venture, retaining a 34% interest. Soon after, Comcast Spectacor along with the Philadelphia Phillies created Comcast SportsNet in 1996. The company also bought the 76ers, who had been Snider's tenants since 1971. Comcast Spectacor also won an expansion franchise in the AHL, the Phantoms. In a 1999 Philadelphia Daily News poll, Snider was selected as the city's greatest sports mover and shaker, beating out legends such as Connie Mack, Sonny Hill, Bert Bell, and Roger Penske.
In 2005, Snider became a prominent investor in a Foxwoods slots casino proposed for the waterfront in Philadelphia. In September 2008, facing massive opposition at the originally intended site, backers for the slots casino decided to seek a new location in the Center City area, next to Philadelphia's Chinatown community.
In 1985, Snider was one of the founding contributors of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), which was established by the philosopher Leonard Peikoff to promote Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. In 1990, after a dispute between ARI and philosopher David Kelley, Snider became a backer of Kelly's rival organization, the Institute for Objectivist Studies (now known as The Atlas Society).
In 2005, Snider created the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation to provide a means to reach inner-city children in the Philadelphia area and provide them with the opportunity to learn to play hockey.
Honors and awards
In 2012, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association renamed its Humanitarian Award as the Ed Snider Lifetime Distinguished Humanitarian Award, with Ed Snider as the first recipient of the newly named award.
Snider's children are Jay, Craig, Lindy, Tina, Sarena and Samuel. He had 15 grandchildren at the time of his death. Jay Snider served as president of the Philadelphia Flyers from 1983 to 1994, and president of Spectacor, Inc. from 1987 to 94.
Snider was married four times. His first marriage was to Myrna Gordon. They had four children and divorced in 1981. In 1983, he married model Martha McGeary with whom he had two children. They later divorced.
In 2004, he married Belgian Christine Decroix (born 1957), a former singer for the Belgian girl-pop group the Lovelettes in the 1970s; they divorced in 2009. He married his fourth wife, Lin Spivak (born 1968), on February 14, 2013.
In 2014, Snider was treated for bladder cancer. Although he announced in September 2014 that he was "cancer free", the cancer subsequently returned. Snider died on April 11, 2016 at his home in Montecito, California. The Flyers wore a patch in his memory on the right shoulder, a black circle with "EMS" in white, for their Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Washington Capitals. For the following season, they will wear a patch on the same shoulder, this one having Snider's signature in a black circle, with a line and the Flyers logo under the signature.
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