'He had such a presence': Snow remembered by Flames as an inspiration
The Calgary Flames organization will remember assistant general manager Chris Snow as a dedicated, talented professional who inspired them in his public battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and lived life to its fullest.
Snow passed away on Saturday following his battle with ALS. He was 42 years old.
Snow was diagnosed in 2019 and initially given six to 12 months to live. Snow’s wife, Kelsie, documented their family’s (including children Willa and Cohen) life on her website and kept the hockey world informed of his condition.
“From that point on [following the diagnosis], I never heard him complain once,” general manager Craig Conroy said on Sunday following Flames practice.
“Really an inspiration. It always puts things in perspective.”
“He had such a presence around him,” blueliner Rasmus Andersson said.
“He will be dearly missed, that’s for sure…he was always happy to be here. You have nothing to complain about in your life, with what he went through and head held high. He took it on head-on and he fought for five long years. I never heard or saw him complain once. He should be missed around here. He was such a good person.”
“I’ll always remember his big smile,” said Flames captain Mikael Backlund.
“Such a happy, easygoing person. Of course, I’ll also remember his fight and how he took [the disease] on. His family is all warriors.”
Snow was hired by the Flames in 2010 as their director of statistical and video analysis after working for the Minnesota Wild as their director of hockey operations. Before his hockey management career, Snow was a baseball writer and covered the Boston Red Sox. Conroy was emotional thinking about Snow’s office at the Saddledome.
“He’s usually just sitting in there and you grab a coffee and go sit with him,” the general manager said.
“Those are things you’re going to miss. The little things.”
Despite the complications he experienced with the disease, Snow was steadfast in his dedication to the team. He worked on contracts for some of the team’s most prominent players, including Jonathan Huberdeau, Andersson, and Elias Lindholm. Agents respected him as a detailed, meticulous negotiator who always came to the bargaining table prepared.
“Even doing Parker Bell’s [Flames prospect who signed on Sept. 21] contract, he was so excited to do Parker’s contract,” Conroy said.
“We were joking at the pool in Penticton [during the recent rookie tournament], he was like, ‘Do you want me to get this Backlund thing done?’…Even at the very end, he just always wanted to do more. He was always in on everything.”
When he was named the Flames’ general manager in the spring, Conroy promoted Snow to vice-president of hockey operations. The two had worked with each other for over a decade and Conroy valued how differently they approached the game.
“He says maybe I get too emotional and fall in love with players,” Conroy said.
“He’s like, ‘I just tell you how I see it, Conny.’ I’m going to miss that for sure. He was a special, special person.”
On Wednesday, Kelsie tweeted that Chris had suffered a catastrophic brain injury after he went into cardiac arrest. Later that day, Backlund was named the 21st captain at the Saddledome. Conroy made it a point of bringing Snow’s son, Cohen, who he calls “Little Snowy.”
“We were at the hospital the day before and I asked him, ‘What do you want to do?’” Conroy said.
“He says, ‘Can I come to work with you?’ Absolutely. To have him out of that one environment and in another one, this feels good to him…I wanted to have him have some time where he wasn’t thinking about it.”
Conroy and players emphasized how inspirational Snow was at not only living his life everyday, but how he made the most of those days. He traveled. He took part in clinical trials for ALS treatments. He became an organ donor. And he didn’t let the disease deter him.
“We only get one life and we have to live it and live it to the fullest,” Conroy said.
“That’s what he did for five years.”
In his final days, Kelsie wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Snow had been planning her 40th birthday party on Sunday.
“He was so excited, telling me, ‘I can’t wait to celebrate you the way you deserve to be celebrated,’” she wrote.
“Today I woke up to a world without him.”
Today I turn 40. Chris had planned a big party for me. He was so excited, telling me, “I can’t wait to celebrate you the way you deserve to be celebrated.” Today I woke up to a world without him. Then I found these & remembered he left me so much evidence of his love. pic.twitter.com/hvFSVUXSFI— Kelsie Snow (@kelsieswrites) October 1, 2023