The hockey world just lost a big member of its community. Even though she never worked for the St. Louis Blues, she played an integral role in their championship.
Kim Cannon never worked for the St. Louis Blues. She was not even from the St. Louis area.
However, she had a big impact on the sport and also the Blues winning a Stanley Cup, in a roundabout way.
Unfortunately, Kim was taken from this world on September 9, 2020. She was killed in a car accident in Louisiana where a tractor-trailer slammed into her from behind, propelled her vehicle into another tractor-trailer before the vehicle overturned.
How she died is sad enough. Knowing how one person in a seemingly insignificant spot in the sport could have such wide reach is even more sad knowing she’s no longer with us.
For those wondering how this all ties into the Blues, Cannon used to work for the Texarkana Bandits. Kelly Chase owned that NAHL franchise and then moved it to St. Louis.
Cannon was the poster child of a storybook rise through sports. She started off as a part-time merchandise salesperson with the Bandits, selling apparel in a shed behind the rink. The rink itself in Texarkana was an old indoor rodeo barn, so you can imagine what the shed looked like.
Cannon made herself indispensable. According to an SI article she helped out wherever, whenever she could.
Jon Cooper, now the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was the coach and GM of the Bandits in those days. He marveled at how quickly Cannon went from a 19-year old selling jerseys and t-shirts to someone the franchise could not have done without.
“She did all the things that would never get you in the newspaper. She always put everyone else in front of her. By the time we got to St. Louis, she was basically running the team outside of the hockey and I was getting all the credit for it. I couldn’t live without her, that’s how important she was. If we were ever fortunate enough to win a Stanley Cup, she would have been one of the first people to drink out of it.” – John Cooper in Ken Campbell’s SI article
Cannon helped with just about anything she could. That allowed Cooper to focus more on the team.
Cannon was one of the higher ups with the Bandits when they came to the St. Louis area. Even prior to that, she had her toes in the St. Louis pool by helping take care of Pat Maroon.
As the SI article points out, Maroon had never been away from the St. Louis area when he went to Texarkana to play at 17. She would text Maroon’s mother to let her know he was ok.
She went on to do that with so many other players too. Some made it as high as the NHL, such as Keith Kinkaid and Erik Condra. Others just got to play in college, which was good enough and helped them into prominent careers elsewhere.
“We won national championships and we put 70-some kids in college and she was a big part of that,” Chase said in Campbell’s article. “She would help to get kids into college and I have two of them who are doctors who call me all the time. And you have Patrick Maroon, who has won a Stanley Cup, and Keith Kinkaid. She was a part of their life and their upbringing and they don’t forget that.”
I had the privilege of working with Kim with the Bandits when they moved to St. Louis.
I’ll openly admit, I was not around the office as much as I could/should have been. I was a shy guy trying to get into broadcasting and felt I was not needed once the game was over. However, she (and others) made me feel comfortable in the office and not a bother.
When the Bandits were able to host the Robertson Cup Tournament in Chesterfield, she knew I was extremely disappointed to not be selected as the broadcaster for that tournament. She made sure I got in the building so I could still feel a part of the organization when they won.
I was extremely saddened to hear of her passing, just as everyone who worked with the Bandits and worked with her anywhere was. She was one of those people you never hear about, but who had an impact regardless.
“She was like another sister to me,” Maroon said, as reported by Campbell. “You could talk to her about anything and she always had your back. She had the most beautiful smile ever and she loved taking care of everyone.”
In an odd way, Kim Cannon helped the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup. While Pat Maroon’s stats do not show it, he was gigantic for the team when they won.
He scored the overtime goal that put them past Dallas. His chirping and feistiness helped them get past the Boston Bruins too.
If not for Cannon helping him adjust in those early days with the Bandits, maybe he doesn’t make the NHL. Maybe he comes back to St. Louis and everything changes.
There’s no way of really knowing that. All we do know is that someone who the vast majority of fans will never have known still had a large impact on the game.
Guys making thousands of dollars or millions of dollars can look back and credit her for the way she touched their lives. Grizzled vets of the game like Kelly Chase can recognize how one person, in a job that seems insignificant to many, can impact the sport in amazing ways.
Our condolences go out to Kim’s friends and family. She will be missed.