St. Louis Blues Tickets
In 1914, a song was composed which would go on to become one of the most popular American blues songs of all time. This jazz number by W. C. Handy was called “Saint Louis Blues”. Little did he know that in a few decades time, the name of the song would be used as the official name of the professional hockey team for St. Louis, Missouri.
The St. Louis Blues are a dynamic team with a rollercoaster of a history. Through all of the ups and the downs, the Blues are still fighting to nab that top spot in the NHL.
The St. Louis Blues were introduced into the National Hockey League (NHL) as part of the 1967 expansion of the league. The Blues were one of six other teams including the Los Angeles Kings, California Seals, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, to be added into the NHL.
It was a narrow victory for The Blues. They were chosen over Baltimore because of the insistence of the Wirtz family, the owners of the Chicago Black Hawks. The family owned the St. Louis Arena which was in a horrible state. In an attempt to get the arena off of their hands, the family pressured the NHL to give the franchise to St. Louis, which had not even submitted a formal expansion bid, and was therefore caught a little bit by surprise.
In the expansion meeting held in 1967, the NHL President Clarence Campbell said "We want a team in St. Louis because of the city's geographical location and the fact that it has an adequate building."St. Louis’ Very Own
After The Blues were brought into the NHL, extensive renovations were carried out on the arena which hadn’t been properly maintained in over 38 years.
The first coach for the team was Lynn Patrick who helmed the team for the 1967-68 season. After leaving a record of 4-13-2, he was replaced by Scotty Bowman, the Assistant Coach. In their first three seasons, the Blues made it to the Stanley Cup Finals every year. Despite this, they ultimately lost each time, the first two seasons to the Montreal Canadiens, and the third to the Boston Bruins.Financial Hardships for the Blues
In the early 1970’s, the St. Louis Blues went through a period of struggle and hardship both on and off the ice.
Due to a combination of pressures from the World Hockey Association (WHA) as well as bad financial decisions made on the part of the management of the team, the team was on the brink of financial collapse. In fact, things had gotten so bad that at one time, the entire staff for the team consisted of just three employees. One of them even served as the head coach, team president, and general manager simultaneously.
It had gotten so bad that the owners, the Salomons, had to find a buyer for the franchise. In 1977, Ralston Purina was recruited to hash out a deal for the transfer of the team. A deal was reached which would allow the Blues to continue playing for the city of St. Louis. The arena was officially renamed to Checkerdome at this point.Changing Fortunes
Prior to the sale of the team, the Blues had been performing horribly. A number of factors contributed to their poor performance, including a changing of the Stanley Cup Playoff format. Things got so bad that the St. Louis Blues came to be known as one of the worst teams in the NHL.
It took a couple of years after the team was sold for them to start changing their reputation and their fortunes. In the 1981 season, the Blues had some particularly impressive statistics. The following years also showed promise with the Blues making it to the playoffs twice, but not managing to ultimately win.More Troubles on the Horizon
While Purina owned the Blues, they were losing an estimated $1.8 million a year over the six years that they owned the team. For a long time, the company took the loses in their stride and looked on their ownership of the team as a form of civic responsibility. However, when a change of management took place in Purina, the new leadership wanted to refocus on pet food and curb their losses from their foray into hockey.
After a lot of back and forth over what was to be the teams’ future, including potentially relocating to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Purina simply turned the team back over to the NHL. Things were not looking good for the Blues at this point, so much so that it looked like the team was destined for contraction.
The team was saved from ruin at the last minute by Harry Ornest, a businessman from Los Angeles, who decided to purchase the franchise. When Ornest took over, the first thing he did was change the name of the arena back to the St. Louis Arena.
The Blues would subsequently be run on a very tight budget.Brett Hull Enters the Picture
This represents one of the most dynamic times in the history of the team. Through all of their financial struggles, the Blues were just staying afloat in the league. They needed something more to make them stand out and make a name for themselves.
From the 1980’s to the early 1990’s, new blood was brought in, in an attempt to change the team’s fortunes. This included forwards like Adam Oates, Brendan Shanahan, and Brett Hull. It also included goalkeeper Curtis Joseph and defenseman Al MacInnis, as well as a host of other players.
The playing style of the team changed dramatically during this period. In fact, they were playing so well that a consortium of over 19 companies agreed to buy the team. The new influx of funding allowed the Blues to build their present day arena, the Kiel Center, now known as the Scottrade Center.The Magic of Brett Hull
Brett Hull is arguably one of the most popular players to ever play for the St. Louis Blues. The son of legendary NHL player Bobby Hull who was called the ‘Golden Jet’, when the Blues got Hull, many things changed.
He was a scoring titan and he went on to become one of the top hockey players in the league. In the 1990-91 season, Hull had a record of 86 goals and therefore earned himself the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the most valuable player in the league. This accomplishment marked the first time a right-winger in the NHL had scored that many goals in a single season. The only player who has gone on to become a better scorer than Hull has been the all-time great, Wayne Gretzky. That season the Blues finished in second place with a record of 47-22-11.Playoff Struggles
Despite their improved performance, the St. Louis Blues were still struggling in the playoffs. Throughout all of the 90’s the Blues managed to make it to the playoffs every year but they always struggled to take it all the way.
In an attempt to improve their chances, the Blues acquired the legendary Wayne Gretzky from the Los Angeles Kings. Gretzky played with the team for a year and led them to the playoffs once again only to lose to the Detroit Red Wings. Gretzky would then leave the Blues the following year as a free agent to the New York Rangers.
This was followed by a very public feud between Brett Hull and Coach Mike Keenan. They both eventually left the Blues, with Hull leaving to the Dallas Stars and Keenan being fired.The Blues Today
The next few years were again a period of struggle for the St. Louis Blues. By the time the early 2000’s had rolled around, the Blues were performing in such a lackluster fashion that even their support from their fans had diminished considerably. The 2005-06 season was so bad for the Blues that they captured the worst record in the history of the NHL. The management was therefore determined to try to rebuild the franchise.
The first step in turning their fortunes around involved signing on some huge talent to the team. This included big stars such as Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, Jay McKee, and Manny Legace. Becoming a strong team again would take some time, and the next season was slow to start for the Blues.
At the beginning of the 2006-07 season, the Blues brought on Brad Boyes from the Boston Bruins. In a very short period Boyes began showing his worth. He was scoring left, right, and center, and became the first player to reach 40 goals as fast as Brett Hull.
In each successive year since then, the St. Louis Blues have started playing better and better. In the last season that they played, they finished in second place in the Central Division right behind the Dallas Stars. They would go on to be eliminated in the Western Conference final by the San Jose Sharks.The Blue Note
For the St. Louis Blues, the signature blue note has been their logo since 1967, when the team was officially formed. The blue note is symbolic of the team’s roots; it is a symbol of the rich history as well as the jazz influences which are so prevalent in the blues music popular in St. Louis. It’s also a nod to the song from which they derived their name.
The team uses blue, navy, gold, and yellow as its official colors.Fans of the Blues
Despite all of their ups and downs, the Blues still manage to draw in big crowds to their games. Their huge attendance records have made them one of the most successful teams in the NHL in terms of attendance. They did suffer for a period of time after the lockout where their attendance numbers dipped dramatically. However, ever since then, the Blues have been consistently drawing in their huge numbers.
Even when they don’t have a playoff year, the Blues’ fans still come out in droves to support their time. For instance, in the 2009-10 season, the team would sell out 98.6% of the total capacity of their stadium. What’s more, a large number of their home games end up selling out. In the 2010-11 season, they sold out every single home game of the season.Support the Blues!
It’s clear to see that even in the face of all the issues that the Blues have had to deal with, they are still a popular team among their fans. The St. Louis Blues have the ability to put on a stunning game and the fact that they generally make it to the playoffs speaks of their capabilities.
If you are a fan of the St. Louis Blues, be sure to get yourself a good deal in advance. Their tickets tend to sell out really fast.