Harold Snepsts is a Canadian retired professional hockey player who spent 17 seasons in the National Hockey League. He is one of the most popular players in the history of the Vancouver Canucks, the club where he spent the majority of his career, and currently serves on the team's scouting staff.
Snepsts was born in Edmonton, Alberta while both parents came from Latvia. A "stay-at-home defender," Snepsts played his junior hockey for the Edmonton Oil Kings and was selected 59th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. He made a strong impression during his first training camp, and appeared in 27 games for the Canucks in 1974–75, recording his first NHL goal. In 1975–76, he became a regular for the Canucks, and through the late 1970s and early 1980s, Snepsts was Vancouver's most effective defender. His physical, error-free brand of hockey made him a fan favorite and saw him selected to the NHL All-Star Game in 1977 and 1982, and he was named the club's top defender four times in five years between 1977 and 1982. At the end of the 1984 season he was dealt to the Minnesota North Stars. He left Vancouver as the club's all-time leader in games played and penalty minutes, although Stan Smyl would break those records a few years later.
Snepsts never really found his game in Minnesota and lasted only a season with the North Stars. Let go by Minnesota, Snepsts signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings, however, his time in Detroit would be plagued with injury. The 1988–89 season would be a homecoming for Snepsts, as he signed a free-agent contract with the Canucks and returned to Vancouver. Now a depth defender, he was a steadying influence as the team set a club record for fewest goals against. Late in the 1989–90 season he was dealt to the St. Louis Blues to add experience for the playoffs. He played out his final season with the Blues, during which he played in his 1000th NHL game, before retiring in 1991. Snepsts appeared in 1033 NHL games over his career, recording 38 goals and 195 assists for 233 points, along with 2009 penalty minutes and was one of the last players to play in the NHL without a helmet.
Following his retirement, Snepsts remained with the St. Louis organization and became head coach of their top minor-league affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen of the International Hockey League and spent the following season as an assistant coach for the Blues. Following his departure from the Blues, he spent a season as head coach of the San Diego Gulls of the IHL, leading them to a 93-point season. He signed on as head coach of the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL for the 1998–99, but inherited a rebuilding team and was fired midway through his second season. In 2000, Snepsts was hired as a scout for the NHL's Central Scouting Service. He spent five seasons in that role before returning to the Canucks' organization as a scout in 2005. On March 14, 2011, the Canucks organization inducted Snepsts into their "Ring of Honour".