As previously noted in this space, Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider has invited Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin to drop the ceremonial puck before the Flyers’ home opener with the New York Rangers tomorrow night. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks, perhaps deviating from the NewsCorp company line on the general election, insists that Snider “is using his team, the Rangers, and the NHL as stage props to advance his own political agenda, and it doesn’t appear the league is willing to do a thing about it.”

Snider was host for a Sept. 26 Palin campaign event at the Irish Pub in Center City in Philadelphia. According to records of the Federal Election Commission, Snider donated $50,000 to the Republican national campaign effort between June 24 and June 30, 2008.

Now he is donating the stage of an NHL pregame ceremony for use as a pep rally for McCain’s presidential effort. Now he is intent on transforming a sports arena into the political arena. He is creating an environment in which partisan politics, not hockey rooting interest, might well create dangerous disruption in the stands.

The NHL, which apparently had no idea of Snider’s power grab, has thus far been mute on the issue. Snider has backed Gary Bettman into a corner as if a latter day Don Saleski. This is behavior worthy of league sanctions.

What’s next, NBA Bobcats owner Bob Johnson, a public supporter of Barack Obama, inviting the Democratic nominee for president to participate in his team’s opening tipoff under an equally odious and flimsy guise of paying tribute to basketball-playing civil servants?

As if an NBA owner would ever attempt to slide something like that past David Stern.