NHL News

Flames executive Snow, 42, dies after ALS battle

Calgary Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow has died at age 42 after a lengthy public battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The Flames confirmed his death Saturday night.

In a statement, the Flames said, “We, along with the entire hockey community, are mourning the passing of Chris Snow. Even while battling ALS, Chris dedicated his life to helping others and he changed the lives of so many.”

Kelsie Snow said on social media her husband went into cardiac arrest Tuesday caused by a catastrophic brain injury from a lack of oxygen, which doctors did not expect him to wake from.

On Thursday, Kelsie Snow said tests confirmed her husband would not wake up, adding he remained on life support while organ donation was arranged because he offered his body to a clinical trial.

“We are so proud of him,” she posted.

Flames GM Craig Conroy said Snow never complained or showed he had a bad day, continuing to perform his job at a high standard.

“Through his journey, Chris became a true inspiration for all who knew him and an incredible advocate for everyone affected by ALS,” Conroy said. “We will never replace a person like Chris. We simply pay tribute to him by moving forward with the same passion that he brought to his life each day.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called Snow a “remarkable man whose courageous and relentless battle with ALS has been an inspiration to so many.”

“An innovative student of our game with an expertise in data analysis, Chris supervised the creation and build out of the Flames’ analytics department and was influential in all facets of the Club’s Hockey Operations decision-making,” Bettman said. “First and foremost, however, he was a beloved husband to Kelsie, a devoted dad to Cohen and Willa, and a friend to everyone in hockey fortunate enough to have met him. The Snows’ willingness to share the trials and triumphs of Chris’s lengthy ALS journey has inspired so many and profoundly increased awareness of the need to find a cure for this debilitating disease.”

Toronto GM Brad Treliving, who worked with Snow in Calgary, said he was devastated by the news about his friend and colleague.

“‘Snowy’ was a true example of strength, courage, grit and compassion,” Treliving said. “He was a cherished friend who deeply impacted our lives. … Chris inspired us all as he faced his relentless battle with ALS head on, refusing to let it define him or derail his spirit.”

The Snow family became a source of inspiration within the hockey community since Chris was diagnosed in June 2019 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS: a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells that control muscles throughout the body.

“We cannot convey the impact Chris has on our organization, not only in his work but the leadership and positivity he brings,” the Flames said in a statement Wednesday. “Despite his own challenges, he is a beacon of light, uplifting all of us around him.”

Snow covered the Minnesota Wild for the Minneapolis Star Tribune out of college and then was on the beat for the Red Sox, his hometown team, for the Boston Globe from 2005-2006. He became interested in analytics and left what many would consider a dream job for a front-office position with the Wild. He was director of hockey operations for four years before moving on to the Calgary Flames. He was named assistant general manager in 2019. Snow helped build the team’s hockey research and development department.

Since his diagnosis, Snow and Kelsie have been very active in raising awareness about ALS and raising money for research. Although Snow feared that he only had a year to live when he was diagnosed, he and his wife shared many posts on social media of him maintaining an active lifestyle — despite health scares.

He was hospitalized many times and placed on a ventilator on numerous occasions, but as recently as July his wife posted a video of him cutting the grass, saying “Chris has almost no use of his hands and arms but here he is today, mowing the lawn after he got home from work. Where there’s a will …”

Snow leaned into the idea of being the first person to beat the disease. He also found inspiration in his family.

“My kids were so little. They were 4 and 7 when I was diagnosed,” Snow said earlier this year, according to Boston.com. “Now, they’re 8 and 11. I have to think that I can beat this in order to get up each day and go on with normalcy, be a dad, and play. So, as long as I can do those things, then I don’t think I’m dying.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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