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Flames assistant GM Chris Snow dies from ALS complications

Calgary Flames vice-president of data and analytics and assistant general manager Chris Snow has died of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Diagnosed in 2019 with ALS, Snow 'continued to do his job to the best of his ability every day'

A family poses together on a stage.

Calgary Flames vice-president of data and analytics and assistant general manager Chris Snow has died of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Snow, 42, was diagnosed in 2019 with ALS, which is a progressive nervous system disease affecting brain cells and the spinal cord, and causes a loss of muscle control.

Chris's wife Kelsie confirmed Snow's death on Saturday.

Today we hugged Chris for the last time and said goodbye as he went to give four people the gift of life by donating his kidneys, liver and lungs. We are deeply broken and deeply proud. In life and in death, Chris never stopped giving. We walk forward with his light guiding us. <a href="https://t.co/hqquCUGBBW">pic.twitter.com/hqquCUGBBW</a>


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.

Snow's wife Kelsie poignantly chronicled their family's journey with Chris's disease via her podcast "Sorry, I'm sad", her blog and social media accounts.

The couple met when they were both sportswriters for The Boston Globe in Chris's hometown. They were married in 2007 and have two children, Cohen and Willa.

Chris was a baseball writer when the NHL's Minnesota Wild hired him as their director of hockey operations in 2006.

When the Wild made organizational changes, the Flames brought Chris on board in 2011 as director of hockey analysis. He was promoted to assistant general manager in 2019 and worked primarily in data and video analysis.

Chris continued to work for the Flames after his diagnosis. He participated in clinical trials that involved a spinal injection every four weeks and lived well beyond the 12-month prognosis he was given.

"Not once did you ever see him feel sorry for himself 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."

Snowy Strong

The Calgary Flames Foundation has raised almost $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.

WATCH | Flames GM Craig Conroy reacts to news of Chris Snow brain injury:

Flames GM reacts to news of Chris Snow brain injury

4 days ago

Duration 0:57

Calgary Flames general manager Craig Conroy had an emotional reaction during a news conference on Wednesday when speaking about the 'catastrophic' brain injury suffered by assistant general manager Chris Snow.

He wrote in a Twitter post in June "I may be diminished, but I am not sick, and I am not deterred. Into Year 5 I go. As we say in our family — Improvise and overcome."

ALS weakened his muscles and hampered his ability to speak and eat.

Kelsie wrote in a social-media post Sept. 27 that her husband became unresponsive and suffered cardiac arrest the previous day.

He'd suffered a brain injury due to lack of oxygen and would not recover, she wrote. His organs were donated.

"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 so 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, grit and compassion'

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called Snow a "remarkable man whose courageous and relentless battle with ALS has been an inspiration to so many."

"An innovative student of our game with an expertise in data analysis, Chris supervised the creation and build out of the Flames' analytics department and was influential in all facets of the Club's Hockey Operations decision-making," Bettman said. "First and foremost, however, he was a beloved husband to Kelsie, a devoted dad to Cohen and Willa, and a friend to everyone in hockey fortunate enough to have met him. The Snows' willingness to share the trials and triumphs of Chris's lengthy ALS journey has inspired so many and profoundly increased awareness of the need to find a cure for this debilitating disease."

Statement from <a href="https://twitter.com/NHL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHL</a> Commissioner Gary Bettman on the passing of Chris Snow: <a href="https://t.co/PMQ1ugR1gq">https://t.co/PMQ1ugR1gq</a> <a href="https://t.co/RBFxkdhYJL">pic.twitter.com/RBFxkdhYJL</a>


Toronto GM 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, grit and compassion," Treliving said. "He was a cherished friend who deeply impacted our lives… Chris inspired us all as he faced his relentless battle with ALS head on, refusing to let it define him or derail his spirit."

A statement from General Manager Brad Treliving following the passing of Chris Snow <a href="https://t.co/UFNaAmCPAe">pic.twitter.com/UFNaAmCPAe</a>


With files from Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press

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