Calgary Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow, who famously made the transition from beat writer to data-driven NHL front office executive, has been diagnosed with ALS.
In a letter posted to the Flames’ website, Kelsie Snow wrote that her husband has been enrolled in “a clinical trial for the most encouraging ALS gene therapy treatment to come along,” a treatment at the University of Miami that researchers hoped could stop the progression of the neurodegenerative disease. She said that Snow has been in the trial for several months, and that his right hand and forearm remain the only affected areas.
“We are leaning into that possibility, as hard as we can, working to stay positive and living with intention every single day. And now we believe we have results to lean into as well,” she wrote.
Dear hockey family: a letter from the Snow family regarding Chris’ ALS diagnosis. https://t.co/S0uRmCk8Ka
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) December 18, 2019
Snow, 38, was elevated to assistant general manager of the Flames this year, his 13th season in the NHL. He came to Calgary as director of hockey analysis in 2011, using a data-driven approach that helped build out the team’s hockey research and development department. Snow was also involved in player contract negotiation.
“Chris is highly, highly intelligent. Obviously, he comes with sort of an analytical approach, but he’s able to speak it in terms and he’s very relatable to not just talking about numbers behind the data but being able to really articulate that to how it impacts the team,” GM Brad Treliving told the Calgary Sun in September.
Snow spent four years as director of hockey operations with the Minnesota Wild from 2006-10, as one of the pioneers of using analytics in an NHL front office.
“There’s a lot of people today working in hockey in positions that didn’t exist five or 10 years ago. I think the reason is you look at the standings and with the exception of very few teams, everyone is packed together,” Snow said in 2016. “The mere idea of getting a little bit better, and it doesn’t matter what it is…it could be in player development or psychology…there’s so many areas where teams are evolving because there’s the need to try to find a way to separate yourself.”
Before that, Snow worked as an NHL and MLB beat writer, covering the Minnesota Wild for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Boston Red Sox for the Boston Globe.
In the letter to the public, Kelsie Snow said that “just over one year ago Chris’ dad passed away from ALS. We have also lost both of Chris’ paternal uncles and his 28-year-old cousin to this disease.”
But she said there’s hope among her, Chris Snow and their two children that he could “make history” in battling this disease.
“Of all the devastation this diagnosis brought, the idea of telling the two of them they were going to lose their dad was the most crushing. But now we have hope and, we believe a different story,” she said.