ED SNIDER as visionary also included his own mortality. When he started his youth hockey foundation in 2005, he said quite casually, "This will be my legacy."
The aim of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation is to serve city kids in the region. But it's more than hockey camps and skating lessons.
"I just wanted to do what I could, and doing it through hockey is the most appealing thing to me," Snider once told the Daily News. "We talk about the hockey aspect of it, but these kids have to get good grades. We help them with their homework. We teach them life skills. There's an educational component to this."
The foundation partnered with the city and state in 2010 on a $14.5 million project to refurbish four Philadelphia rinks for year-round use.
Its footprint extends from South Philly's Rizzo Rink to Simons Rec Center in West Oak Lane to the Laura Sims Skatehouse at Cobbs Creek Park.
"I think, probably, as a young person, a young kid, you walk away from here each and every day feeling like you've accomplished something," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said after a visit to Scanlon Rec Center in Kensington last summer. "And I think that's something that really helps a young person grow and feel good about themselves."
The following facts and figures were compiled by the foundation through records and school report cards:
* 95 percent of participants perform at satisfactory or above in core classes.
* 99 percent achieve grade-to-grade promotion.
* 85 percent of high school seniors continue education in various forms beyond high school.
"Ed launched Ed Snider Youth Hockey 10 years ago with the audacious goal of building lives and uniting communities in the Philadelphia region's underserved neighborhoods," said Bill Whitmore, the foundation's co-chairman.
"Like all of his endeavors, Ed dedicated himself wholeheartedly by personally funding the charitable organization and its programs and rink projects. Today, Snider Hockey serves about 3,000 children in Philadelphia and Camden, with a plan to double the size of the program over the next several years. Our programs are offered in redeveloped rinks as after-school programs.
"The name Snider Hockey is not just about hockey. In fact, Snider Hockey is focused on the entire child, with programs in nutrition, health screening, tutoring, life skills, mentoring and, of course, hockey. Our children are terrific and embrace our terms for participation completely. They are good students, good members of the community, disciplined individuals and goal-oriented.
"Ed Snider Youth Hockey will continue to serve the boys and girls of our region for decades," Whitmore said. "Ed's program is truly changing lives and uniting communities, and his impact on our region will be felt forever. Ed has taken his success in business and translated it into a legacy: Ed Snider Youth Hockey. We should all celebrate the wonderful impact on our community that was born of Ed's incredible vision for what can be when we commit our time, effort and resources."
Snider grew up in a tough part of Washington, D.C., where he worked as a stockboy in his father's grocery stores. He regularly fought through anti-Semitic bullying and, occasionally, the confrontations were physical.
"Kids today are facing guns," he said. "I can't imagine how frightened I would have been each day to go to school. It's horrible."