Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: St. Louis Blues’ 50 Things To Know

By Colin Likas
Apr 4, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues salute their fans after defeating the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues salute their fans after defeating the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jun 18, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz talks to fans during the 2015 Stanley Cup championship rally at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Past

  1. The Blues owe their existence to the Blackhawks — or, more specifically, the family that owned and continues to own the Blackhawks. Arthur Wirtz, father to Bill and grandfather to Rocky, was the Blackhawks’ primary owner back when the NHL was looking to expand for the first time. St. Louis was the last of six cities chosen for the 1967 expansion, and it was primarily because Wirtz asked the NHL choose St. Louis over Baltimore. The Wirtz family owned St. Louis Arena and wanted it off their hands, so they implored the NHL to add a team that could use the arena. The league did so, and the Blackhawks wound up with one of their biggest rivals as a result.
  2. Former St. Louis Cardinals star Stan Musial was part of the 16-person investment group that made the city’s formal application for an NHL franchise.
  3. Scotty Bowman, the only coach with more NHL wins than current Blackhawks leader Joel Quenneville, was the Blues’ second head coach. The team posted an overall record of 110-83-45 in 238 games across four seasons with Bowman at the helm. The 82-year-old currently serves as Senior Adviser of Hockey Operations for the Blackhawks.
  4. The Blues actually started their existence in a very strong way, qualifying for the Stanley Cup Final in their first three seasons. However … they were swept all three times, and this was more so a byproduct of the NHL, at this time, requiring at least one expansion team to make the playoffs every season.
  5. The Blues suffered from severe financial troubles in the 1970s and were eventually solid to Ralston Purina, an animal food company. This has became part of a running joke that we’ll get to later.
  6. The team was again at risk of fading away in the 1980s, when Purina wanted out from under the money-bleeding Blues. At first, this resulted in World Hockey Association and Edmonton Oilers founder Bill Hunter leading a group of investors who wanted to purchase the team and move it to Saskatchewan. The NHL turned down that deal.
  7. The franchise was eventually saved in 1983 by Los Angeles businessman Harry Ornest, marking the last time to date the team was at risk of leaving St. Louis or collapsing entirely.
  8. Scottrade Center opened in 1994 under the name Kiel Center and was the Blues’ new home, replacing St. Louis Arena, which had been renamed the Checkerdome while Purina owned the franchise. The Blues still play in Scottrade today.
  9. The Blues were the only NHL team to make the playoffs in each year of the 1990s. Predictably, it led to no success.
  10. Detroit extended its current-record playoff streak to 25 seasons on Saturday. The Blues actually held a similar streak, making the postseason each year from 1980 to 2004. Only the Montreal Canadiens (29 seasons from 1968-96) and Chicago Blackhawks (28 seasons from 1970-97) have longer postseason qualification runs than the Blues and Red Wings.

Next: The Rivalry