St. Louis Blues History: Hall of Famer Bernie Federko's 13-Year Blues Career

The 68-year-old 2002 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, whose number 24 was retired by the Blues in 1991, spent all but one of his 14-year NHL career years in St. Louis.
St. Louis Blues v  New Jersey Devils
St. Louis Blues v New Jersey Devils / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

This past Sunday marked the 68th birthday of one of the St. Louis Blues' greatest players. Bernie Federko, who played 14 years in the NHL from 1976 to 1990, spent all but one of those years in a Blues sweater, having his number 24 retired in 1991, just a season after his playing career retirement.

The beginning years

Federko, a native of Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, was selected 7th overall by the Blues in the 1976 NHL Entry Draft out of the then-named Western Canada Junior Hockey League's (now the modern-day WHL's) Saskatoon Blades, the same junior team that current Blues captain Brayden Schenn was picked from by the Los Angeles Kings in 2009 as their 5th overall pick. So that means he had the distinction of wearing blue and gold for his entire junior and professional careers, something not many other players can claim!

Federko was something special

Federko played exactly the magic number of 1000 games in his career, totaling 369 goals, 761 assists, and 1130 points. Of that, 927 were played in a Blues sweater, which is still the most all-time in franchise history. He's also the Blues' all-time assists and points leader and is 2nd in goals behind the legendary Brett Hull (352 to Hull's 527). With a stature like that, you could argue he's the greatest player in Blues history, even more than the Golden Brett. Federko's rookie season in 1976/77 saw him score only 14 goals and add 9 assists for 23 points in 43 games played, far below what he would play in every subsequent season. His best came in 1983/84, scoring 41 goals and adding 66 assists for 107 points, one of the 4 occasions he'd break the 100-point barrier, the others in 80/81, 84/85, and 85/86. Yes, three consecutive 100+ point seasons. Very impressive.

Federko also landed on several All-Star teams in consecutive years from 1979-81 and 1984 while being nominated for 8 Lady Byng Memorial Trophies, given to the player with the best sportsmanship, in the former as well as in 84/85, 85/86, and 1988-90 and received nominations for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP in, again, those former years.

After 13 seasons with the Blues, Federko played one last season with the Detroit Red Wings in 1989/90, playing 73 games with 17 goals and 40 assists for 57 points. He also achieved 11 career hat tricks, all with St. Louis, the last a February 27 7-5 road win in Toronto. Federko was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2002 as a player alongside the New York Islanders' Clark Gillies and the Washington Capitals' Rod Langway, plus 8-team coaching veteran Roger Neilson. He now serves as part of the Blues' broadcast team on Bally Sports Midwest as a color commentator and was a head coach for the St. Louis Vipers in 1993 and 1994, when the team played in the short-lived Roller Hockey International from 1993-1999.

Happy 68th birthday to a Blues all-time great!!