The St. Louis Blues are no stranger to postseason awards these days. While they did not get much hardware for their on-ice work, the people behind the scenes got some love.
The St. Louis Blues, like all NHL teams, are mostly known for their work on the ice. No offense to all the talented people that work in all aspects running a sports franchise, but if the product is no good, nobody cares.
Fortunately for those people, the product on the ice for the Blues has been very good for quite awhile. The team has not had a sub-.500 record since 2007-08.
The flip side of the on-ice argument is that players cannot exist in a vacuum. The team doesn’t exist without the people running things behind the scenes.
With that in mind, those mostly unseen, but important people, got their just due. The Sports Business Journal handed out their 2020 awards and named the St. Louis Blues as their 2020 Team of the Year.
The Blues had some stout competition for this award. They were up against the Minnesota Twins, San Francisco 49ers, Toronto Raptors and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
The Blues front office and staff have really managed to turn this into as close to a national franchise as you possibly can, given the smaller nature of the market. In recent years, they have helped the city land a Winter Classic, the 2020 NHL-All Star events as well as several nationally televised exhibition games.
Some franchises sit on their laurels and hope their on-ice or on-field product is enough. The Blues have not done that under the current ownership and you can tell the difference.
“When our Chairman Tom Stillman and his 15 local partners purchased the Blues back in 2012, they really did it to protect a treasured civic asset,” Blues President and CEO Chris Zimmerman said in his acceptance speech on the team’s website. “Our challenge from there was to create a championship team on the ice and to find financial stability, something that had been elusive over our 50 years. Winning this award tonight really reflects not just the work of one year, but a commitment made back in 2012, and it’s a celebration of a remarkable, passionate and determined staff that made it possible.”
All of this is an example of having people that care. Too often there is a deep divide between franchises and the fans that support them.
You don’t feel that with the Blues. You feel as though the people running the team, from the men and women in the offices down to the people that sell the popcorn, are fans like us. They want what’s best for the team and the city, not just a decent bottom line (though that does help).
Additionally, for those curious, the Blues’ All-Star festivities finished as a finalist for event of the year. That went to the 2019 NFL Draft.
That seems like an apples to oranges comparison. I don’t pay much attention to the NFL Draft anymore, so I’m not sure how that compared to the event the Blues put on, but it is what it is. I’d have agreed more if it was the 2020 draft since that was evidence that sports could reenter our consciousness during the pandemic, but the calendar year these awards recognized was March 1, 2019 through February 28, 2020.