Yesterday the NHL officially announced the first of what is to be many outdoor games in the new “Stadium Series” between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The series is to take place in multiple cities throughout the season. While not all of the venues have been officially announced, it has been speculated that others will occur in New York (two of them are set to be in New York), Los Angeles, and Vancouver.
It appears that once again the St. Louis Blues will be snubbed out of any outdoor games despite the success of the franchise over the last couple seasons and the history behind the team. Many hockey fans forget that the Blues were established in 1967 as part of the NHL’s original expansion. While the Blues are the only expansion team from ’67 yet to win a Stanley Cup, they did reach the finals in each of their first three seasons. Perhaps the drought of not reaching the Cup Finals for the last 41 years has the NHL looking to other teams, but what are all of the reasons that the Blues should not get an outdoor game, from the perspective of the NHL and its fans:
- The Blues have spent the last 44 years trying to raise the cup and never have
- The Blues lack a true superstar forward
- The St. Louis market is not nearly as large as other hockey markets, especially those included in the upcoming Stadium Series
- The Blues are a very young team that has yet to prove themselves
- The weather in St. Louis is unpredictable
For fans of the St. Louis Blues though, there is a very different perception. In 2009, the NHL held their annual Winter Classic in the windy city at the famous Wrigley Field. When Blues fans heard the news that the Hawks would be hosting, many fans hoped that it would not be long before the classic was held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. So why do the Blues deserve to host an outdoor game at Busch?
- The Blues have a strong fanbase that deserves attention
- Young and rising players keep St. Louis Blues games exciting
- Players like Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko are bringing the Blues more attention
- The Blues are close to a team that could compete for the cup. The NHL should want to highlight rising teams
- Busch Stadium is part of the St. Louis culture. The Blues often highlight the Cardinals and vice versa. It is a strong community.
- If the weather in Los Angeles is not a fear, St. Louis should be much easier