The St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup was a surreal experience. One year later, at least for fans, not much has changed.
When June 12 rolled around in the year 2019, St. Louis Blues fans did not quite know what to do with themselves. Although it seems blasphemous to compare anything St. Louis to Chicago, I imagine it was similar to what Cubs fans felt the day of their Game 7 in 2016.
We all waited, not knowing how we really felt. Some may have been supremely confident, others might have told themselves it was going to happen but were secretly worried.
Many of us still wondered if the shoe would finally drop. Even with all the magical things that happened to get to that point, like Cubs fans, there was simply too much heartbreak to not think this would be the ultimate cosmic slap in the face.
You would finally get to the top and instead of standing on the peak, someone would push you off the side of the mountain just a step away from the pinnacle. That would have been a very Blues thing to do.
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However, whether you were nervous or confident, there was something different about that day. If nothing else, the fact the Blues had never played into June was different enough, but it was a good nervous feeling.
It was not really that stomach turning in knots kind of nerves, but a good feeling. The players felt the same way.
The funny thing was the nerves took a long time to go away. Going into the game you were thinking “oh my God, could they do it today or what will happen to mess this up?”
Once the Blues scored the first goal, you started letting yourself believe. But there was so much game left, it was hard to let those nerves go. Add to that the amount of pressure Jordan Binnington was facing and you knew one goal would not be enough.
Then, Alex Pietrangelo scores that late goal and the Enterprise Center lit up like Christmas. The only bad thing about having that goal come right before the end of the first period was we had to wait those 17 minutes and think about all the things that could happen, whether good or bad.
No goals in the second period didn’t ease any tensions. The Blues were obviously playing well, but it felt like they were playing with fire.
However, while it was likely different for every fan, the moment I knew the Blues had it was when Binnington made his unbelievable save. Even though the game was still 2-0 at that point, it was the final sign that told us it was not going to turn against us any longer.
If that goal goes in, you have more than half the third period to play and Boston only trailing by a goal. They were already pounding the net with shots, so hearts in St. Louis would have been pounding out of people’s chest like cartoon characters.
Instead, the Blues kept their two-goal cushion. It was less than two minutes later that Brayden Schenn scored to make it 3-0.
Zach Sanford would score against his childhood team shortly after that. Though Boston stole the deserved shutout away from Binnington, it was an ironic sweet relief to be able to enjoy the game without feeling like any food ingested was on the verge of coming up.
It was a day we will all remember, likely for the rest of our lives. I said it at the time and still believe it that it meant something more to Blues fans than it would have with any other fan base other than possibly Toronto, since they’ve gone so long without.
For many, including myself, it was the greatest day of our lives from a sporting perspective. You cannot equally compare weddings, the birth of children or grandchildren or graduations or proms or any of that stuff since they all mean different things to different people. From a pure joy aspect from a sports event, there might be nothing that tops it.
I grew up a Chicago Bulls fan and had the privilege to watch perhaps the greatest player to ever live win six championships. This was better. A funny coincidence is the Bulls won their first ever championship on June 12, 1991.
We have all grown up with various fantastic St. Louis Cardinals teams. Speaking for myself, this was better.
The mind is a funny thing as to what we can and can’t recall, but I believe I’ll remember that day. I remember going to the watch party at Enterprise Center after first row, glass seats opened up at the last minute.
I remember the tears of happiness my father was shedding since he had openly wondered if he or my mom would ever see this moment. They were just dating when the Blues first went to the Stanley Cup Final and had finally seen it come full circle over 50 years later.
My wife and I celebrated and embraced. When the clock hit zero, I had to support myself on the glass to even believe it was all real.
Each fan has their own story to tell and while they share similarities, like snowflakes, no two are just the same. That’s what makes June 12, 2019 so special. It gave us one of those once in a lifetime moments.
A year later, we still remember those moments. It was all so special and time has not changed it yet, if it ever will. Part of our subconscious continues to wonder if it was all just a dream, but even dreams aren’t so good sometimes.
I believe that that moment will be one that is the same five years after, 10 years after or more. We all lived our hockey dream that day, whether we were five or 95 and it changed Blues history for the better.