Certainly nobody was singing the blues on Wednesday night in St. Louis.
Everybody was screaming about the Blues as they defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 to bring the Stanley Cup to St. Louis for the first time in the franchise’s 52-year history.
The story about the Blues’ climb from the worst record in the National Hockey League in early January to Stanley Cup champion has been well documented.
“We’ve seen teams go from worst to first in successive seasons like the (Atlanta) Braves did in 1991, but to do it in the same season in a span of a few months is remarkable,” said Justin Maskus, the Missouri Southern sports information director and a St. Louis native. “The city of St. Louis has won a championship in every major sport, and two of those teams aren’t there anymore (NFL Rams returned to Los Angeles, NBA Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968). This city bleeds both red and blue, and this title is a special one.”
Indeed it bleeds both colors. The biggest watch party was at Busch Stadium, home of the Cardinals, where 25,000 fans turned what’s usually a sea of red into a sea of blue to watch the game on the video board in the rain. And the Enterprise Center, home of the Blues, was sold out. Tickets were $20 apiece to raise money for Blues and Cardinals charities.
The biggest sports celebration in St. Louis since Games 6 and 7 of the 2011 World Series spilled onto the streets without any reports of looting or violence often seen in other cities. This celebration will reach its pinnacle at noon Saturday with a parade downtown.
“I’ve been a life-long Blues fan and have been to several Blues games, but I had reached the point where I really never thought I would see them win the Stanley Cup,” said Bruce Vonder Haar, Webb City High school multimedia/news teacher and a Pacific High School graduate. “Watching their run through the playoffs this season has been an unforgettable experience. I fought back tears watching them hold the Cup, and I can’t wait for my son and me to go to the parade in St. Louis.”
More thoughts from transplanted St. Louisians:
• Kevin White, sports information director at Truman State: “It’s one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had next to the birth of my two kids. I’ve dreamed about the Blues hoisting the Cup since meeting Mike Luit and having Gary Unger flip me a puck in the old Arena. Going to games with my dad and childhood friend Steve Kraus, who lives in Joplin now, and talking to both of them (Wednesday night) was so special. I can’t wait to see them and all my friends at the parade.
“I’ve had a toy ‘cup’ and a picture of me with the actual Cup in my office for over 20 years. Unbelievable!”
• Andy Hogenmiller, Sarcoxie boys basketball coach and former Missouri Southern golfer: “It’s a surreal feeling, especially to wake up and know it’s not a dream. My wife and I went out and watched the game at Gusano’s. ... The Blues haven’t lost a series clincher when we’ve gone out to watch the game instead of watching it at the house. ... So we decided to try going out once more and hopefully they’d come out on top. They did! They won the most prestigious trophy in sports, the toughest trophy to win without question.
“Being from Washington, Missouri, about 50 miles west of St. Louis, born in 1990, growing up playing roller hockey and watching the Blues of the late ‘90s and early 2000s, seeing how good some of those teams were but couldn’t get over the hump. And over this playoff run, seeing a lot of those players come back to root this team on shows what St. Louis sports means to those players and how great of a sports town St. Louis is.”
• Brett Newtson, former KODE sports anchor and now a sportscaster in Florida: “Amazing moment to see this hockey team take over a baseball town. I think of all the history, from Dan Kelly doing play-by-play to Mike Luit, Brian Sutter, Brett Hull and the players who turned St. Louis into a real hockey town. Without them paving the way, there would be no Pat Maroon. It’s come full circle, and as a kid who grew up playing and loving this game and this team, it’s the greatest sports night of my life!”
Matt Newbery of Pittsburg watched the Blues as youngster — with some help.
“I first got to watch the Blues in the mid-1970s,” he said. “Pittsburg cable had KPLR out of St. Louis and it showed Blues games. We didn’t have cable, so I’d ask my mom or grandma to take me to the Jones Motel Restaurant on West Fourth Street. Mr. Jones would change the (TV) station and let me sit at the counter just so I could catch a period or two of the game against the east coast team they’d be playing at the dinner hour.
“The remarkable run from worst team in the league to a Stanley Cup title is hard to fathom — even though I’ve seen it with my own eyes. ... The bad news was I didn’t even get to watch Game 7. I had a previous commitment that kept me away. I followed along on Twitter all night and can’t wait to watch on replay.”
Jordan Larimore, former Globe writer, was introduced to hockey at a minor league game in Tulsa and became instantly hooked.
“My personal history being tortured with the Blues’ failure to lift the Stanley Cup isn’t nearly as lengthy as a lot of people,” he said. “I’m still in disbelief of what I saw (Wednesday) night. There are so many stories with this team that bring tears to my eyes. Zach Sanford, the Boston kid who lost his dad last fall, playing against his childhood team. Laila Anderson, the 11-year-old Blues superfan who is only the 16th child in the world to be diagnosed with the rare immune disease she has. Patrick Maroon, the St. Louis native who took less money to come back home and be close to his 10-year old son. It’s a cliche to say this, but I really think it’s true in this case: This is the stuff of Hollywood scripts.
“When I woke up my (4-year-old) daughter Thursday morning and showed her the video of Alex Pietrangelo lifting the Cup, her little shriek was pure joy. The elation only ceased when she realized that the win meant hockey season was over.”