Resilient, strong and a man who saw the beauty in the world everywhere he looked.
On Thursday, Chris Snow was remembered by family and friends at a memorial service in Calgary.
The Calgary Flames’ assistant general manager and vice-president of data and analytics died Sept. 30 at the age of 42 after a more than four-year fight with ALS. Doctors had initially told him he had only a year to live, but he inspired legions of people around the world by sharing his story as he underwent a clinical trial and continued to work with the Flames while spending as much time as possible with his children, Cohen and Willa, and his wife, Kelsie.
The three dropped the puck before the Flames’ home opener on Wednesday evening and on Thursday afternoon spoke at the memorial service about their brave and loving father and husband.
“He was the most remarkable person I had ever met,” Kelsie said. “I’m a farmer’s daughter. I was raised to believe in Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. But walking through life next to Chris changed all of that. It was impossible to be in his orbit and not see the beauty in this world, because he was always, always pointing it out.
“For the last four-and-a-half years, as the world has marvelled at Chris’ strength and resolve and optimism, I have not been surprised by any of it. This is just who Chris always was. These are the reasons I fell in love with him, and I have been immeasurably proud to stand back and watch the rest of the world fall in love with him, too.”
After his ALS diagnosis, Snow continued to work for the Flames, providing invaluable insights into the team’s play and acting as a key player in contract negotiations.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving, now with the Toronto Maple Leafs, remembered Snow as a sharp mind with a quick wit who tackled every challenge that ALS threw his way with strength and courage.
“He taught us the difference between being alive and living,” Treliving said. “We saw this resilience, this strength, time and time again. Whatever obstacle came up, Chris focused on the solution.
“You’ve heard this the last week, the last year, but you never heard him complain. I never heard him complain.”
Not only did Snow not complain, he also shared his often difficult journey with the world. With his family by his side, the Snows raised awareness of ALS and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for ALS research.
That work touched people far beyond the hockey world, and there’s no measuring the impact it had.
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On Thursday, though, those who loved him best remembered the man, father and husband who they’d shared so many beautiful memories with.
“Chris shared his story and his vulnerability with the world,” Kelsie said. “But mostly he shared those things with the three of us, and along the way, his courage, his determination to see the beauty in life and his unwavering optimism became ours.
“His strength made us strong, his gratitude showed us how to be grateful, and his joyfulness in the face of the most dire circumstances showed us how to find reasons to smile even when we are broken. His voice plays in our minds and hearts now and forever, we walk forward with his light guiding our way.”