The Flying Frenchman might not be one of the most well known St. Louis Blues, but he was the first of his kind. He was a pioneer in his own right.
For the younger St. Louis Blues fans in the audience, you likely won’t know who Philippe Bozon was unless you’re just one of those that digs into team history. For the rest of us, some of you might not know who Bozon was either.
Bozon was not a household name, even in his hometown NHL city. He just wasn’t an eye-catching type of player.
Bozon was a hard working player. He actually played his entire NHL career with the Blues.
However, it was only 144 games spread across four years. The bulk of the games came in years two and three, with just nine games in his first year and one in his final one.
Bozon would actually play up until the 2005-06 season. However, after 1994-95, it was all in various European leagues, with most time spent in the Swiss league.
So, you might be asking, with a somewhat pedestrian NHL career, how is Bozon a pioneer? It is because he was the first.
Bozon was the first player born in France and to be trained in France to make the NHL. There always has to be a first and Bozon was that.
In terms of you learn something new every day, I remember Bozon quite well having grown up during his prime. However, I wrongly assumed he was a French-Canadian player. There were enough French names in the NHL that you would not automatically think a player was actually from France. We have Jim Thomas of The Post-Dispatch to thank for that information.
There are not a ton of NHL players from France, but the talent level continues to rise. As Thomas pointed out, Cristobal Huet won the Stanley Cup, albeit as a backup goaltender.
Antoine Roussel is not exactly popular in St. Louis, stemming from his days in Dallas and Vancouver. Still, you cannot deny his talent and, like Bozon, feistiness.
These days, Bozon uses his position as the first French-born NHLer as the head coach of the French national team. That’s fitting since Ron Caron found Bozon during the 1992 Olympics.
For St. Louis to have a first in that fashion is special. It’s just another interesting nugget in the history of the Blues.