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Flames assistant GM Chris Snow suffers catastrophic brain injury

Calgary Flames Chris Snow and his family - Calgary Flames

CALGARY — The wife of Chris Snow says the Calgary Flames vice-president of data and analytics suffered a "catastrophic" brain injury after going into cardiac arrest and isn't expected to recover.

Chris Snow, 42, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2019.

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 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."

ALS is a progressive nervous system disease affecting brain cells and the spinal cord, and causes a loss of muscle control.

Snow's father, two uncles and a cousin also died of what's also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Gehrig, a New York Yankee, was diagnosed with it at age 36 and died in 1941.

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.

Chris 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.

Snow continued to work for the Flames after his diagnosis. He was named the team's vice-president of data and analytics in May when Craig Conroy was named the club's new general manager.

Snow participated in clinical trials and lived well beyond the bleak 12-month prognosis he was given.

"It doesn't seem right not have Snowy here with me," a visibly emotional Conroy said Wednesday at a press conference to introduce new Flames captain Mikael Backlund.

"I was fortunate enough to bring Cohen. Little Snowy's here, and that means more than you know."

ALS weakened Chris Snow's muscles and hampered his ability to speak and eat.

"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 on social media. "Despite his own challenges, he is a beacon of light, uplifting all of us around him. Our hearts are with Kelsie, Cohen and Willa as Chris continues to battle."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2023.