The future of any team is in the growth of the game they play. The St. Louis Blues realize this and continue to do all they can to make hockey a bigger deal in the area.
The St. Louis Blues under Tom Stillman’s ownership has grown the game in the area exponentially. Through initiatives, community outreach and simply trying to lure events to the city, the Blues have done wonders for hockey in St. Louis.
While the Blues are not solely responsible, their focus on growing the sport has worked wonders for the area. St. Louis had five players taken in the 2016 NHL Draft. Not too many cities can boast that.
Luring events such as the NHL All-Star Game in 2020, the NHL’s Winter Classic in 2017 or any number of things can only continue this growth. With that in mind, the Blues and the Enterprise Center will be the hosts of the Frozen Four in 2025.
If you want to get technical, the University of Vermont will be the host. If you’re wondering why an east-coast school would host a Midwest event, you’re not alone.
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You’ve got Michigan, Michigan State, the schools from the Dakotas, Notre Dame as well as others that could have done it. However, apparently regionality has little to do with it as Chris Zimmermann, the Blues president on the business side, is an alumni of Vermont and basically just got to ask his alma mater if they would do it.
Regardless, this is a big deal. Any time you can be the host city of a major collegiate event, there are very few things that are not positive about it.
The Blues will be a regional site host in 2024. They then host the semifinal and championship games in 2025.
For those that are basketball fans, you know how big this can be from a hockey standpoint. You get people that just like atmosphere and being with the crowd that might come see games and get hooked, drawing them into the Blues fold.
You might bring your son or daughter to one of those games and perhaps that starts a new love of the game and the Blues.
For all we know, the next Blues megastar might be playing in that championship game in 2025. Or, maybe a player gets drafted elsewhere, remembers their special moments in St. Louis and uses that as an extra reason to sign with the Blues at a later point in their pro career.
Anything is possible. The biggest point is the exposure it gives your area and the growth of the game.
St. Louis is already, if somewhat quietly, becoming a big player in the national hockey scene. Lindenwood is already a premier collegiate hockey program at the ACHA level and Maryville is already nipping at their heels after only being in existence a few years.
In that short time, Maryville has jumped into the fire full force. Like the Blues, they realize how much these events can help the sport grow.
In their first year of existence, the Maryville women’s hockey team will host their conference tournament in the spring of 2021. The men hosted their Division 1 conference tournament in just their second year in 2020. ACHA tournaments are coming to the area in the near future as well.
Any city with a professional hockey team can claim some form of growing the sport at the grassroots level, but the Blues just feel more active in it.
They’ve got their latest initiative to help promote hockey for girls and now are bringing the biggest collegiate event back to the Lou as well. The last time St. Louis hosted the Frozen Four was 2007.
The Blues front office and staff are really pushing hockey as much as they can. As a fan of the sport, this is nothing but good.