The date was December 19, 1973. It was the date that would later become known for the St. Louis Blues’ snowstorm game of that 1973-74 NHL season.
The old St. Louis Arena’s capacity of 18,000 for ice hockey was only filled by roughly 23 percent. Why the low attendance, you ask? Every school but one, plus every street, and all of Lambert Airport was, figuratively speaking, snowed in.
1 whole foot of snow fell on the city that night. Yet just over 4,100 Blues fans still made it to a game that saw St. Louis pull out a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. That is true dedication.
Braving the hazardous roads and then the snow-drifted Arena parking lots, these same fans were later rewarded for their courage when the Blues PA announced all concessions were on the house for that evening’s game. The Kings got nothing. They lost, with St. Louis bidding them a good day when the final buzzer sounded.
St. Louis stood at 13-10-6 heading into this contest, while LA was 9-17-5. They would spoil the Blues’ fans’ free snacks incentive by grabbing the first lead of the night off a goal from Mike Corrigan at 10:24 of the opening period.
It was Corrigan’s 7th of the season. The Blues would tie things by the end of the period at 19:19 with Garry Unger’s 12th of the season on the power play deadlocking things heading to the 2nd period.
St. Louis would open the scoring in the 2nd period with their 2nd power-play tally of the night, at 3:20, with Larry Giroux giving the Blues a 2-1 lead. It would be the only goal by either side.
The final biscuit in the oven came in the final minute of the 3rd period, Garry Unger’s 13th of the season slapped into an empty Los Angeles net to seal the Blues victory. On penalties, St. Louis racked up 5 total compared to the Kings’ 5 as well. The two teams also tied each other on shots, with 31 apiece for 62 combined pucks toward their respective nets.
The Blues would go on to finish the 1973-74 season with a record of 26-40-12, finishing 6th in their division and missing out on that year’s playoffs. Los Angeles finished at 33-33-12 and 3rd and their division, making the playoffs but losing in 5 games to the Chicago Black Hawks in the opening round. (Side Note: Blackhawks was generally written as Black Hawks until at least 1985)
One thing was for certain, however. The snowstorm game of ’73 was no joke. It would also not be the last time the Blues pulled out an incredible victory in what can only be described as other-worldly circumstances.