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Death of Snider has heavy impact on Devils' Shero

by Mike G. Morreale / New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Ray Shero barely was a teenager when his father, Hockey Hall of Fame member Fred Shero, coached the Philadelphia Flyers to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975.

But he certainly remembers the passion of Flyers chairman Ed Snider.

Ray Shero, now general manager of the New Jersey Devils, was saddened to learn Snider died Monday at the age of 83 after a battle with cancer. He opened his season-ending press conference at Prudential Center with candid memories of Snider.

"He was just so passionate," Shero said. "My father was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013 and Mr. Snider brought the entire team and staff [to Toronto] during the induction ceremony, and that was pretty incredible because he's been part of the team since 1967, the original owner."

A statue honoring Fred Shero was unveiled at Xfinity Live, the entertainment complex across from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in March 2014. A moment from that day still stands out to Ray Shero.

"Mr. Snider was in the front row when I was giving the speech and I was general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the time," Shero said. "I'm talking about the days when my dad was coaching the Flyers and they were known as the Broad Street Bullies, and teams used to come in here and be terrified to play. Mr. Snider heckled me and said, 'They still are.'"

Shero said he thought it was fantastic when Flyers anthem singer Lauren Hart had Snider on FaceTime on her mobile phone while she sang "God Bless America" along with a 1970s video of Kate Smith on Saturday. After the song, Hart blew kisses to Snider, who was home in California. The Flyers went on to defeat the Penguins to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"To see Lauren Hart sing the tribute was great," Shero said. "Just the impact [Snider] had on so many players and so many people in Philadelphia. It's a sad day but there are a lot of unbelievable memories of his kids at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The entire Shero family is thinking of Mr. Snider and his family today."

Shero said Snider is a role model on how to build and establish youth hockey. In 2005 Snider started the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, which promotes life skills and hockey through after-school, recreational and supplemental educational activities for children and families in Philadelphia.

"The legacy of Ed Snider and what he's done in Philadelphia, off the ice, for kids, will never be forgotten," Shero said. "An owner like that, who is so passionate about winning, was just incredible. You can't say the Flyers haven't tried to win a third Stanley Cup because they have. But it just goes to show you how hard it is to get back to the Stanley Cup Final. They've fallen a little short but maybe they can do it again for him."

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