St. Louis Will Host the NHL All-Star Game For Third Time
Welcome to the NHL All-Star Week. This week will be filled with a tumultuous amount of fanfare and opportunities for St. Louis to host a plethora of activities and events for our hockey community. This upcoming week should pose nothing less than tremendous for anyone who is a fan of the game. Every team will send at least one representative to take part in the mid-winter accolades for the athletes that have risen above their peers during the season, thus far.
The only time St. Louis has played host to the All-Star Game was in 1970 and 1988. This year appears to be extremely sentimental as, of course, we are the reigning Stanley Cup Champions as well as the host city. I cannot be more excited for this community. Especially the kids who have the opportunity to perhaps see some of their favorites on the ice this week.
I took some time to break down the numbers to share the relevance and importance of how this event showcases how our St. Louis Blues have worked inexplicably hard to reach this point.
Since 1968, there have been 44 All-Star Games. The NHL fell on hard times with shortened seasons and were without an All-Star Game in the 79′ 87′ 05′ 06′ 10′ 13′ & 14′ seasons. Either way, the Blues have been able to send at least one representative to the ASG in every year except 2001 when there was not one athlete wearing the Blue Note for the team.
After dissecting everything, it should be noted that through 44 All-Star Games, the St. Louis Blues have sent 87 players, including this year’s 2019 group. However, it should be something to behold that out of those 87 players; the team has only sent 44 different players to the All-Star Game over 44 years. Essentially, there were some lean years in which our boys were able only to send one or two to the game. For example, From 1968-1971, the Blues sent 20 players to the All-Star Game. As the league turned to more expansion teams, The Blues were leaner, and between 1975-1978, they only sent one player to represent the team. From 1975-1978 the only player from The Blues was Center, Garry Unger.
Let’s take a moment to highlight some of our previous All-Stars and see who has been able to carry the spotlight to a more nationally recognized state. Below are some names that have put themselves on the map in terms of how well they played the game. Honestly, I was surprised when I came to the end of the list. Essentially, everyone wants to know who has been to the All-Star Game the most to wear The Note. Full Disclosure, everyone listed was elected while they were with The Blues, so there may be other ASG appearances that are not mentioned due to players being on other teams.
#25 Glenn Hall 2x G
#7 Red Berenson 3x C
#5 Rob Ramage 3x D
#11 Brian Sutter 3x LW
#6 Barclay Plager 4x D
#44 Chris Pronger 4x D
#2 Al MacInnis 6x D
#16 Brett Hull 7x RW
#7 Garry Unger 7x RW (Unger also wore # 9, 6, 8 & 17)
Unger’s Seven Trips a Surprise to Those Who Didn’t See Him Play
Looking at this list of All-Star Game appearances, I was amazed by one name being Garry Unger. I initially thought to myself, “Who is/was this person?” I wasn’t even born during this era, so I wouldn’t have the appropriate context to even contribute to a conversation, but I can now see his importance. It amazes me how both Brett Hull and Garry Unger put together numbers in their career to sustain multiple All-Star Game appearances.
The Golden Brett Stands Above The Rest
In 11 seasons with the Blues, Brett Hull posted 529 Goals, 409 assists, and 936 points. Gary Unger, with his 7 All-Star Game appearances in 9 seasons with the team admirably showcased his talents with 292 goals, 283 assists, and 575 points. In looking at these All-Star appearances, the number certainly may raise an eyebrow but also shows the work put in by those who may not be in the headlines every day.
Perhaps some may be reading and wonder what my point is with this information. Yes, I have left off All-Stars that are Hall of Famers from the Blues. Names such as Brendan Shannan, Keith Tkachuk, Curtis Joseph, etc. The point is that underneath all of the legacy that this team is built on, many hidden gems propelled us to where we are today.
If you told me ten years ago that David Perron would return to this team for his 3rd tour and have his name emblazoned on The Stanley Cup, I would have never even considered your opinion. If you were to state that Tyler Bozak, who spent nine years with Toronto, would have a significant part in us winning a cup, I would have the same response. Adding names to the like of O’Reilly, Perron, Binnington, Pietrangelo, and Coach Berube only makes it the proverbial cherry on top this week. We deserve this, and so does our city.
The last time our team had four players in the All-Star Game was 2000. Pavol Demitra, Roman Turek, Al MacInnis, & Chris Pronger. The last time we had five representatives from The Blues was 1971. Red Berenson, Tim Ecclestone, Barclay Plager, Gary Sabourin & Ernie Wakely. I consider this year five representatives since we have four players and Coach Berube at the helm.
Enjoy the Festivities
The timing, the players, the moments in time in which everything comes together is what helps to shape this upcoming week. Take this time to share with your kids how great this opportunity is for our city to host all of the stars that make up this hockey community. Saint Louis is my city and will always be the one to which I am most loyal. The St. Louis Blues will shine on a national stage this week, and for that, I am forever grateful. Enjoy this week with your friends, fellow fans, and kids. Thank you for reading. Take care of yourselves and each other.