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A Little History of the Blues … Hockey, That Is

As the NHL playoffs are in full swing and the hometown Blues are fighting for their playoff lives, it provides an interesting opportunity to look back nearly 50 years to the very beginnings of this franchise.

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The St. Louis Blues are in their 48th season of the National League Hockey and have begun yet another playoff run, hoping to win this weekend and continue to the second round.

Through the years the team has been through many changes and exciting moments. It was started as one of six expansion teams and was added to the original six teams in the league in 1967.

Its first game ever played was on Oct. 11, 1967, at the St. Louis Arena, in which the Blues tied with the Minnesota North Stars, 2-2.

Later in its rookie year of existence came the team’s first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, in which they fell to the Montreal Canadians by a sweep of four games to zero.

This original team was coached by Lynn Patrick, but after little success ownership decided to give the coaching position to the legendary Scotty Bowman, who led them to the Stanley Cup finals three consecutive years.

After four years with the Blues, Bowman went on to lead the Canadians to five Stanley Cup championships, the Pittsburgh Penguins to one and the Detroit Red Wings to three.

The Blues enjoyed continued success, however, even after the absence of Bowman.

The team birthed spots in the playoffs in 25 consecutive seasons (1975-2004), and was home to some of the most celebrated players of all time, including Brett Hull and Wayne Gretzky.

Since then the Blues have made it back to the post-season in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and are now led by coach Ken Hitchcock and top players T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Throughout all these years these big-name players and coaches have all put their mindsets on one thing: the Blue Note, which has a history of its own.

When the team was started in 1967 by Sid Saloman Jr., naming the team the Blues was an easy choice.

“The name of the team has to be the Blues,” said Saloman. “It’s part of the city where W.C. Handy composed his famed song while thinking of his girl one morning.”

W.C. Handy is known as the Father of the Blues, as in the style of music, and the song the hockey team is named after was actually titled “St. Louis Blues” and was written by Handy while in St. Louis. This Blue Note has become a tradition in St. Louis and has grown to symbolize the team.

The current St. Louis Blues team is searching for its first-ever Stanley Cup championship. Click here for updates on the Blues’ series with the Minnesota Wild.

The Blues have had a successful season, with a record of 51-24-7, and hope to continue that success for just a few more weeks and earn the coveted title of Stanley Cup champions.

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Rickie Ross

Rickie Ross is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. He is a sophomore communication studies major and ministry minor. Coming from a local Christian school in O’Fallon, Mo., he is also a member of the baseball team at Missouri Baptist and finds himself involved around campus with filming and photography of various sports activities. Rickie is a member of the global service organization at MBU, Circle K International, and looks forward to graduating with knowledge and experience of various communication aspects as well as a greater knowledge of the Bible.

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