Calgary Flames vice president of data and analytics and assistant general manager Chris Snow has died from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Snow, 42, was diagnosed in 2019 with ALS, which is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects brain cells and the spinal cord and causes a loss of muscle control.
Chris’ wife, Kelsie, confirmed Snow’s death on Saturday.
Today we hugged Chris one last time and said goodbye as he went to give the gift of life to four people by donating his kidneys, liver and lungs. We are deeply devastated and deeply proud. In life and in death, Chris never stopped giving. We move forward with his light guiding us. pic.twitter.com/hqquCUGBBW
Snow’s father, two uncles and a cousin also died from what is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Gehrig, a New York Yankee, was diagnosed with the disease at age 36 and died in 1941.
Snow’s wife, Kelsie, movingly chronicled her family’s journey with Chris’ illness through her podcast, “Sorry, I’m Sad,” her blog, and her social media accounts.
The couple met when they were both sportswriters for The Boston Globe in Chris’ hometown. They married in 2007 and have two children, Cohen and Willa.
Chris was a baseball writer when the NHL’s Minnesota Wild hired him as director of hockey operations in 2006.
When the Wild made organizational changes, the Flames brought Chris on board in 2011 as director of hockey analytics. He was promoted to deputy general manager in 2019 and worked primarily in data and video analysis.
“You never once saw him feel sorry for what he was going through,” Flames head coach Ryan Huska said.
“He continued to do his job to the best of his ability every day.”
The Calgary Flames Foundation has raised nearly $600,000 for ALS research in a “Snowy Strong” campaign.
Chris, Kelsie and Cohen received their Canadian citizenship in 2022. Willa was born in Calgary.
The Flames promoted Chris to vice president of data and analytics in May.
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He wrote in a Twitter post in June: “I may feel diminished, but I am not sick and I am not deterred. I am entering year 5. As we say in our family: improvise and overcome.”
ALS weakened his muscles and hindered his ability to speak and eat.
Kelsie wrote in a social media post on Sept. 27 that her husband became unresponsive and went into cardiac arrest the day before.
“In life, Chris offered his body to a clinical trial to help others. In death he will do the same,” his wife wrote. “We are very proud of him.”
An estimated 3,000 Canadians live with ALS and approximately 1,000 die from the disease each year, according to ALS Canada.
‘A true example of strength, courage, valor and compassion’
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called Snow an “extraordinary man whose courageous and relentless battle against ALS has been an inspiration to many.”
“An innovative student of our game with a background in data analytics, Chris oversaw the creation and development of the Flames’ analytics department and was influential in all facets of the club’s hockey operations decision-making,” Bettman said. . “First and foremost, though, he was a loving husband to Kelsie, a devoted father to Cohen and Willa, and a friend to all the hockey players who were lucky enough to have known him. The Snows’ willingness to share the trials and tribulations Triumphs from Chris’s long career ALS journey has inspired many people and profoundly raised awareness about the need to find a cure for this debilitating disease.”
Toronto general manager Brad Treliving, who worked with Snow in Calgary, said he was devastated by the news about his friend and colleague.
“‘Snowy’ was a true example of strength, courage, bravery and compassion,” Treliving said. “He was a dear friend who profoundly impacted our lives…Chris inspired us all as he faced his relentless battle with ALS, refusing to let it define him or derail his spirit.”