PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled a statue and started a tradition Thursday.
A 9-foot-tall bronze sculpture of founding owner Ed Snider was unveiled outside Wells Fargo Center, and one of the features is a replica of Snider's 1974 Stanley Cup championship ring.
"A new tradition has sprouted up around this organization called 'rub the ring'," said Lindy Snider, Ed Snider's daughter. "When you see the statue and you walk by you'll see dad is wearing his prized possession, his Stanley Cup ring. Stop and rub that ring for good luck to bring us a win."
About three dozen former Flyers were in attendance, and many of them rubbed the ring, including president Paul Holmgren, Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie Parent, and forwards Dave Schultz and Terry Crisp.
"It was the greatest feeling was when I touched the ring," said Parent, who helped lead the Flyers to Cup victories in 1974 and '75. "It wasn't just a ring. I felt the power behind the man. Love him so much."
The statue was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the Flyers' first home game, a 1-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Spectrum on Oct. 19, 1967.
Snider died of cancer at age 83 on April 11, 2016.
Crisp works as a television analyst for the Nashville Predators, who play at the Flyers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSP, FS-TN, NHL.TV). He doesn't work road games anymore but said he wasn't missing this trip.
"My wife and I, when we saw this on the docket we weren't going to miss it," Crisp said. "As much as we as players owed Ed Snider, we as families owed him as much. When you have a gentleman like Ed Snider who owns the team and helps you out like he did our family personally, it goes far and beyond the sporting world and what he meant to us."
Former forward Daniel Briere, who signed with the Flyers as a free agent in 2007, said Snider's reputation drew him to Philadelphia.
"What I remember the most is probably him coming to the dressing room after every game at home, win or lose, blowout or not, he was always in the room either congratulating us or cheering us on to get back from a tough loss," he said. "As players we were like his grandkids, we couldn't do anything wrong. … And then you'd hear him walk down the hallway and if there was a rough night he'd be giving it to the coaches and the managers. The coaches and the managers were his kids and we were his grandkids so we could get away with a lot more.
"He was part of the reason why I signed here. The atmosphere that he created here, the fact that he would always say if you're a Flyer for one day you're a Flyer forever, that's something very special and something I still feel to this day. It all started with him."
Commissioner Gary Bettman was among the speakers at the unveiling.
"It is a fitting tribute to a great man and a great life," the Commissioner said. "It's also a wonderful way for the community to, on an ongoing basis, continue to pay respect. He's been a force during his life, he's been a presence during his life. He and his accomplishments were larger than life and here he is."
Commissioner Bettman said he still thinks often of Snider.
"He was a great owner, he was a great mentor, he was a great counselor and he was a great friend," Bettman said. "And he is sorely missed."