Saturday, September 19, 2015

Flashback Philadelphia Flyers' Feature: What if Ed Snider hadn't taken a risk?

The start of training camp provides an opportunity to revisit one of my classic hockey features...

Ed Snider traveled to see a sporting event with a friend nearly 50 years ago. That New York Rangers hockey game made such a positive impression on him that he later took a business risk. In so doing, the Philadelphia Flyers were born.

Risk and reward

Rewards aren't guaranteed in business, or in life. Snider used his free will when he decided to invest in a National Hockey League expansion franchise in the late 1960s, with no guarantee of success. 

If his team would have flopped, it might have gone the way of the Cleveland Barons. A hardcore reference that has been noted for all hockey aficionado's. 

Brains and talent
As the Flyers built their 1970s reputation and won back-to-back Stanley Cups against the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres, arenas around the League were filled to capacity along the way. Everyone wanted to see one of the world's greatest shows. 
Yes, the team hasn't won the Cup since then. But, it has gone to the last round six times since those fabled 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons.

So, what if?
If Snider hadn't taken the risk, hockey may not have started in Philadelphia as soon as it did. Where's the evidence that any other person, who may have founded the franchise at any other point in time, would have made a go of it?

The sheer amount of media members that cover the team's home games indicate that there is more than a small, hardcore, contingent of Flyers fans in the region, as has been suggested over the years. It's likely a broader group, as evidenced by the amount of street and inline hockey programs that exploded in the 1980s and ice hockey programs that have been created at high schools across the surrounding region during the past two decades.

In other words, the base has grown since the fall of 1967. Also, the Reading Royals wouldn't exist if it weren't for the Flyers. And that ECHL hockey team, located in a small town over an hour from Philadelphia, attracts almost four thousand fans per game.

Loyalty counts
Don't forget that Snider built the CoreStates Center in 1996 (now known as the Wells Fargo Center) with almost total private funding. All sports facilities could be built without making the public become a partner through forced, back door, taxation.

There is no sense of entitlement within the Flyers organization. They have earned their way through Snider's example. His straightforward business approach is simply this: Work hard, don't be afraid to spend money and try to win every single season.

Flyers' fans are smart and have always recognized that their team consistently tries to succeed. And with that, loyalty will continue to reign.

(I hold all copyrights to this article which originally appeared on Yahoo's platform in 2011. Photo credit: cdn1.vox-cdn.)


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