Chris Snow, Calgary Flames’ vice president of data and analytics, has died after a four year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Snow, 42, was diagnosed in 2019 with ALS, which is a progressive nervous system disease affecting brain cells and the spinal cord, and causes a loss of muscle control.
Chris’ wife Kelsie confirmed the death in a social media post Saturday.
Calgary Flames said in a press release Sunday that Snow is mourned by all of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, and the entire hockey community.
“Chris was our friend and he will be sadly missed,” the release 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,” said Calgary Flames’ general manager Craig Conroy, quoted in the release.
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Flames Head Coach Ryan Huska said in a recent blog post on the team’s website that Snow was one of his biggest supporters.
“When you talk about people looking at him as inspiration, I don’t know how you can’t. Never did he have a bad day, considering what he was going through. And he continued to do his job to the best of his ability every day,” he said.
Craig Conroy, the Flames’ general manager, said Snow was a real inspiration.
“When he got that diagnosis that first day, six to twelve months that was a tough time … But from that point on you never heard him complain once. Never heard him, all the stuff he went through, a real inspiration,” he told reporters on Sunday.
Players also weighed in on the person they called “Snowy”.
“I’ll always remember his smile. You know, Kelsie posted pictures and he’s always smiling in those pictures and that’s what I’ll remember, his big smile and always such a happy and easy going person,” said Mikael Backlund, Flames captain.
“He’s a true hero to be honest … For him to come in every day and support us. Even if he wasn’t having good day he came in and tried to make every day a really good day,” said Dillon Dube, Flames forward.
Former Flames general manager Brad Treliving posted a statement on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ social media page saying he is “devastated” by Snow’s death.
“‘Snowy’ was a true example of strength, courage, grit and compassion,” the statement read. “His intellect was matched only by his incredible kindness, thoughtfulness and unwavering love and devotion to his family and friends.
“Chris inspired us all as he faced the relentless battle with ALS head on, refusing to let it define him or derail his spirit.”
Kelsie Snow said Wednesday on social media that her husband became unresponsive and suffered a heart attack on Tuesday.
She said paramedics and doctors were able to get his heart beating again, but he suffered a brain injury due to a lack of oxygen. She said his doctors do not expect him to wake up from the injury.
“My chest feels cracked open and hollowed out,” Kelsie Snow wrote. “Chris is the most beautiful, brilliant person I’ll ever know and doing life without him feels untenable.”
“Hug your people,” she said.
Chris and Kelsie Snow met when they were both sportswriters for The Boston Globe and were married in 2007. They have two children, Cohen and Willa.
Snow’s father, two uncles and a cousin also died of what’s also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Doctors originally told Snow he had one year to live following his diagnoses in 2019.
“He defiantly said no, willing himself to another four-and-a-half years of birthdays, holidays and indelible life moments before he was tragically taken from us on Saturday,” the Flames’ website post wrote.
Snow was a baseball writer when the NHL’s Minnesota Wild hired him as their director of hockey operations in 2006.
When the Wild made changes, the Flames brought Snow on board in 2011 as director of hockey analysis.
He was promoted to AGM in 2019 and worked primarily in data analysis.
“The Flames Assistant GM quite literally changed the world, creating a legacy that will live on far beyond the walls of the Scotiabank Saddledome,” the Flames’ post said.
–With files from The Canadian Press.