On any given night, one can expect the recently opened Ballpark Village to glamour in St. Louis Cardinals red. After all, the site is located just a small street across from Busch Stadium. However, on Monday evening, the only colors one would see if they set foot into Ballpark Village, assuming they could get in, would be blue and gold.
It is estimated that more than 4,000 Blues fans filled the 120,000 square foot structure on Monday for the team’s Ice Breaker event, which was proclaimed as their unofficial kick-off to the 2014-15 season. The main purpose of the event was to introduce new forward Paul Stastny to the city, as well as to officially unveil the club’s new uniforms.
Original Blues players Bob Plager and Jim Roberts took the stage to kick off the event, followed by the always-popular Brett Hull.
Hull, who scored 527 goals with the Blues and donned five different uniform designs during his tenure with the club, is now contributing to the team off the ice in a front-office role. The “Golden Brett” won two Stanley Cups after he moved on from the Blues, but told the raucous crowd on Monday that it would mean even more to see the Blues win one now.
“To win the Cup here to me, but not for me, but for the St. Louis hockey fans,” Hull said. “I get goosebumps just thinking about it. I mean, look at this turnout here tonight.
“Can you imagine that parade going down Market Street when we win? To have those fans, who have supported this team for so long, to finally achieve the Holy Grail. It would be something else.”
The fans certainly can imagine it. If anyone questions that, they weren’t at Monday’s event, where many fans stood for hours to see something they could have watched from the comfort of their homes.
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock echoed the sentiments of most fans when he ended his interview ceremoniously saying “let’s just get playing.”
With training camp less than a month away, Hitchcock will have to wait a bit longer, but when the Blues revealed their new look, it gave the fans something satisfy their hunger for just a little bit longer.
Stastny, along with David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo and Barret Jackman stepped onto the Ballpark Village stage after a video introduction of the new gear and modeled their new home and away jerseys for the fans who had been waiting the entire summer for a glimpse.
For the Blues, Monday’s jersey change represents the 17th time the club has changed its design since its inaugural season in 1967. Prior to Monday, the Blues had not made a design change since the 2007-08 season, in which the club changed to the Reebok Edge jerseys. The Reebok Edge design later became, and still remains a common sight around the League.
“It’s exciting,” Oshie said in a video posted on the team website. “It brings a fresh look to the team and hopefully some luck on the ice.”
Though the home and away jerseys have not been modified since 2007, the club did make an addition to their jersey lineup in 2008, adding an alternate jersey to their arsenal. That jersey will still be worn by the team on occasion.
The team’s new design largely resembles the uniforms the club wore for the nine seasons between 1998-2007. The look has a classic feel to it, but with some modern aspects, as well.
“Going back to tradition is the important thing,” Pietrangelo said in a video posted on the Blues website. It is certainly exciting to get to wear these. We are going to be extremely excited to be the first ones to wear these on opening night.”
“I thought they did a good job combining the old with the new.”
Oshie concurred with Pietrangelo’s thoughts on the new gear.
“Any jersey with a Blue Note on it makes me proud to wear, but this one definitely looks pretty sharp,” he said.
The jerseys will go on sale to the public immediately, and the entire team will sport them for the first time on Sept. 21 when the club opens its preseason schedule against Columbus.