The St. Louis area missed a fantastic opportunity to prove they were more than a one team town when they spurned an MLS stadium plan. Now, the Blues need to become more of a true focus of the area.
There is no doubt that St. Louis Blues fans are extremely passionate about their team. They are clearly some of the most loyal in all of sports given the fact they have gone 50 years without a title and people still pay their money for jerseys and tickets.
The St. Louis area has long had problems though. From a pure sports perspective, the issue has usually been the St. Louis Cardinals are the be-all, end-all.
There is nothing wrong with the Cardinals getting attention when it is deserved. They are one of, it not the most historied team in the National League. Even most die-hard hockey fans root for the Cardinals when the season is not in.
The problems usually ran into coverage. Newspapers and local media would put a hot-stove rumor on the front page while the Blues take a backseat. Regardless of grudges of that nature, St. Louis is normally unified.
That was not the case when it came to having an MLS team. Due to a combination of misinformation and bad timing from the Rams leaving, the city turned down an opportunity to build a new stadium.
There would have been costs, of course. However, St. Louis would have shown the country that it was not just a baseball town. They could have proved that they were more than willing to support three teams.
Now, the MLS has officially ruled St. Louis out of getting a team this time around. It was always likely to be the case after the stadium vote, but it is still sad.
Looking to the future, we can only hope the Blues can now benefit. There is less money going to be spent on sports, but the city must focus on getting the Scottrade Center renovations done.
Hockey must be more of a focus, because it is now one of only two things the city is known for from a sports perspective. The Blues would be a beneficiary of that too.
The Blues already cleared one hurdle regarding their arena renovations. Hopefully the same judge basically throws out the alderwoman’s argument and the Blues can get going full steam with that.
Those renovations would not only benefit the Blues too. It would keep St. Louis viable as a destination for big concerts and NCAA events.
The area also needs to get this new ice facility done, whether in Maryland Heights or wherever they can find land. The Blues practicing in an empty mall is somewhat embarrassing.
That facility would benefit the entire area as well. St. Louis is somewhat known for producing NHL talent now, regardless of whether they actually utilized the St. Louis hockey system.
You don’t want to throw that all away. Whether it is just having places for youth teams to play or somewhere for an actual junior hockey team to play, it would be a boon for the area to have a state of the art place for hockey to continue to grow.
In this space, we do our best to be neutral politically – especially since both sides are equally abhorrent recently. However, the area needs this sort of investment.
In a perfect world, owners would pay for arenas and stadiums. We do not live in a perfect world and the St. Louis area must embrace and fully support the sport of hockey now.
St. Louis will always be a baseball town, so there will never not be enough support for the Cardinals. However, as much as you or I love the Blues, it has waned even for hockey.
Due to ownership issues, the team almost left town twice. Baseball fans might not mind, but the rest of us need the Blues and some of us wanted more too.
We can sit around and say the team will never leave, but stranger things have happened. With the city missing out on soccer, it must fully invest in hockey and the Blues.