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Flyers Dedicating Playoff Run to Ailing Ed Snider

This October, Philadelphia Flyers chairman and owner Ed Snider wasn't able to attend the home opener. On Thursday, the Flyers took their annual team photo. It was the first time in 49 seasons that Ed Snider was not sitting front and center. 

"'This is my fifth year in Philadelphia, and it's weird to not see Mr. Snider in the picture,'" Wayne Simmonds told the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi, referring to a conversation with head coach Dave Hakstol

Snider, who turned 83 in January, may not have been present physically, but the owner is on the minds of the Flyers as the season hits a critical point. The Flyers only exist because of Ed Snider's vision. Now the Flyers are trying to return the favor with a playoff appearance.

"Mr. Snider obviously is this organization. He is the Philadelphia Flyers," Simmonds said. "This is definitely something we're trying to put together for Mr. Snider."

Snider has been dealing with ailing health and forced to remain in California for most of the season. When the Flyers made their California road trip, they were able to visit Snider.

Make no mistake about it, Snider has kept up with the Flyers over the recent weeks. Following Wednesday night's shootout win, one that could very well define their season, Snider phoned Hakstol to offer congratulations.

"It was tremendous to have a chance to talk with him," Hakstol said. "You know he wants to congratulate us, but it's really the other way around. Everything our team is doing right now goes back to Mr. Snider. It's tremendous to know he's watching our games, and certainly we want him to know what we're doing is based on playing for him and the organization he's built.

"Maybe he wasn't there physically in the photo with us, but he was there. Believe me, he was there; he was there with all of us."

Making the playoffs would certainly be fitting given Snider's competitive nature and overall faith in the franchise to make decisions that will help them compete. It was a trying offseason for the Flyers, but Snider said back in May 2015, when Hakstol was hired, that the Flyers could remain patient with prospects and still compete this season. He further affirmed it during training camp in September, saying "I think we're going to be a playoff team this year."

The Flyers are closing in on making it happen. It would be a fitting way to honor the ailing owner.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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