ARLINGTON, Va. -- Preparing to face the team that drafted him in a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the first time, Washington Capitals right wing Justin Williams recalled Tuesday when his tenure with the Philadelphia Flyers ended and the kindness that was shown to him by Ed Snider.
The Flyers chairman and founder died Monday at age 83 after a two-year battle with cancer.
"He was my first owner in the NHL," said Williams, who was picked by the Flyers in the first round (No. 28) of the 2000 NHL Draft. "You hear it all time how passionate he was, and after every game he would come in and shake our hands after a win or a loss. He was just a genuine guy. He loved hockey and he seemed like he loved his players just as much."
Williams, who played in his 1,000th NHL game Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks, made his NHL debut with the Flyers on Oct. 5, 2000 and played three and a half seasons with them before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 20, 2004. He remembered fondly the phone call he received from Snider that day.
"He called me up to say 'Thank you' and wish me luck, and that doesn't happen," Williams said. "Things like that, not every owner does. I'm not quite sure 5 percent of the owners do. He was certainly one of a kind, a guy I'm sure will be remembered for years to come."
The Capitals and the Flyers play Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Verizon Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-PH, CSN-DC, CBC, TVA Sports).