Ed Snider is a man who believes deeply in the value of uniting communities and the importance of guiding young people to be strong and productive citizens. Out of respect for the sport of hockey and its athletes, and out of love for the cities of Philadelphia and neighboring Camden, NJ, he established Snider Hockey in 2005 to bring the “the greatest game ever invented” to children who otherwise might never have the opportunity to play.
The Foundation provides more than 3,000 children in the greater Philadelphia region with the equipment, ice time and experienced coaching needed to play hockey. In addition, it incentivizes kids to value their academic and personal development by stressing the importance of schoolwork, mutual respect and good citizenship.
2005 to 2006 – THE INAUGURAL SEASON
In its first season, Snider Hockey forged a unique partnership with the School District of Philadelphia to provide a Learn to Play Hockey program to elementary and middle school boys and girls, ages 7 – 12, during the school day as an integral part of their physical education curriculum. As a result, the Foundation was able to host fifteen schools and approximately 450 students at three rinks throughout Philadelphia.
2006 to 2007 –GROWTH & EXPANSION OF PROGRAMMING
Snider Hockey built upon initial activities by developing new programming in an effort to increase its number of participants. The Foundation introduced summer hockey camps during June, July and August at the Polonia Bank Flyers Skate Zone in NE Philadelphia. The camps were designed to help further develop ice hockey skills during the summer and were a huge success for everyone involved.
The 2007-2008 season also saw the introduction of Snider Hockey’s After School Excellence Program. Over 500 Philadelphia students hit the ice at seven city rinks throughout the year. The intent of these sessions are to provide students with a fun after-school activity in a safe environment by introducing new players to the sport of hockey, as well as further developing the skills of existing players. An important component of the After School Excellence Program is the integration of homework help and other supplemental educational services into each session.
2008– GREAT STEPS FORWARD
As Snider Hockey continued to grow, it formed a vital partnership with the City of Philadelphia, becoming the official youth hockey provider for the city. After an announcement given by Ed Snider and Mayor Michael Nutter, Snider Hockey began to oversee three Department of Recreation rinks that had previously, for budgetary reasons, been considered for closure: Laura Sims Skatehouse at Cobbs Creek, Scanlon Ice Rink and the Rink at Simons Recreation and Teen Access Center. Also at this time, Snider Hockey was allowed to expand some ice time to two other Philadelphia rinks: Rizzo Rink in South Philadelphia and Tarken Ice Rink in Northeast Philadelphia.
In addition, major emphasis was placed on the introduction of competitive games for Snider Hockey participants. Beginning in 2008, Snider Hockey formed teams at Sims, Scanlon and Simons to play games against one another. Players from these rinks eventually played a series of home-and-home games in early 2009. These games were a huge success and catalyzed plans for Snider Hockey to establish teams in other Philadelphia-area rinks: Rizzo Rink, Tarken Ice Rink and the two Flyers Skate Zone facilities in Northeast Philadelphia and Pennsauken, NJ. Teams from each of these rinks would go on to form the Snider Hockey League (SHL), a completely internal hockey league comprised of Snider Hockey teams of all age levels up to high school.
2009— RECOGNITION, COMPETITION GROW
In May of 2009, the National Hockey League (NHL) chose Snider Hockey as the recipient of its “Hockey is for Everyone Grant,” praising the Foundation’s nationally recognized model of both on-ice and off-ice development of strong and successful youth in Philadelphia. This grant helped Snider Hockey continue to enrich its life skills curriculum as well as develop further its After School Excellence Program, contributing greatly to the Snider Hockey mission.
In September of 2009, Snider Hockey began forming select teams featuring the most advanced players in the program at the Squirt, Peewee, Bantam, Midget U-16 and Midget U-18 USA Hockey age groups. During the 2009-2010 Season, these teams began competing in a series of exhibition games against local and regional recreational league teams. In addition, a number of Snider Hockey participants were selected to represent the Foundation in skills competitions all across the Northeast in cities such as Buffalo and Brooklyn, NY. During this time Snider Hockey also formed a select high school team that began playing a full schedule of games against local Varsity and Junior Varsity teams. All of the select teams currently practice and play out of the University of Pennsylvania Class of 1923 Ice Rink, located in University City.
In November of 2010, Ed Snider and Mayor Michael Nutter made yet another announcement of long-term partnership between Snider Hockey and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. Plans to renovate and enclose three city rinks—Laura Sims Skatehouse, Scanlon Ice Rink and the Rink at Simons Recreation and Teen Access Center—were announced, making these three rinks fully functional seven days a week, year-round. In addition, Rizzo Rink and Tarken Ice Rink were included in additional plans, as both rinks would receive significant renovations as a result of the Snider Hockey-City of Philadelphia partnership. From these advancements, Snider Hockey’s programming expanded immensely.
2011 to Present—CONTINUING PROGRESS
In November of 2011, one year after the announcement of plans to enclose the city rinks of Sims, Scanlon and Simons, Snider Hockey and the City of Philadelphia celebrated the grand openings of these three rinks. Not only did the renovations drastically improve the ice surfaces, but also these improvements saw added public space, classrooms and learning labs in each rink. These rinks have now seen year-round participation, seven days a week, and great impacts in the nearby communities. In addition, plans to renovate and enclose both Rizzo Rink and Tarken Ice Rink were announced, with completion and opening scheduled for late 2012.
In 2012, Snider Hockey has seen strong advancements in all aspects of the Foundation. Year-round participation has led to the development of strong athletes as well as productive and successful students and community members. Currently, there are a number of Snider Hockey teams that compete against many other teams in the region in the Delaware Valley Hockey League (DVHL). These teams are made up of players from all rinks that are involved with Snider Hockey. In addition, the SHL has continued to provide all participants with a fun and competitive schedule of games against other, now-rival Snider Hockey rinks in the Greater Philadelphia area. Off the ice, Snider Hockey has developed strong programs such as its Champions Program, one that emphasizes academics and character development alongside athletics. This program instills values of self-improvement, goal-setting and community-involvement in all of its participants, called “Champions.” In sum, Snider Hockey has continued to establish a passionate precedent of growth in every facet, strengthening its mission both on and off the ice.
The Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation will continue to advance, using the sport of hockey to help educate young people to succeed in the game of life.