The great twitter personality @Artlippo turned me onto an article by SI that said Saint Louis had a dwindling fan base. The article was referencing outdoor games and who might get one. While the Blues aren't top dogs in attendance, we are a top TV market. When I first moved to Saint Louis I wanted to shout Let's Go Blues at every person I saw wearing a piece of apparel. Then I noticed that 8/10 people I saw on any given day had a piece of Blues gear on. You see men in suits with a keychain or a girl lifting in the gym in a hoodie. It was something that I took for granted until the article. It always felt to me that Saint Louis was a hockey town. I am not arguing that we aren't baseball heaven, because we are. What I am saying is that compared to some cities with NHL teams, Saint Louis seems to love their Blues more. This is true even though we have never lifted Lord Stanley's Cup.
Chicago is the new rage, people from all over love the Hawks. While I will be a blatant homer and say the majority of Hawks fans are bandwagoners, it wasn't long ago that they were literally giving tickets away to the United Center to get people into their games. The Blues, with no help from the national media or from winning a recent cup, still have a strong, passionate base in a city that barely gets enough cold weather to skate on.
The night I read the article, I logged onto my Xbox to play some video games. I joined a group of gamers with thick Canadian accents. I asked and they were almost all from Canada. So I immediately asked, how much do you guys love hockey. They all laughed and said a lot. They were unanimous Vancouver fans. They asked me who I liked, as a silly American. When I said the Blues, one of them asked "Why does Saint Louis love hockey so much!?" It wasn't until then that I realized I wasn't imagining things. Even fans from the homeland of hockey (not to be confused with the heartland of hockey) know that Saint Louis has a real passion for this game. The sad part was, I didn't know what to say. Why does Saint Louis love hockey so much?
I grew up in Southern Illinois, where you're closer to Saint Louis than Chicago, but share the state with the Hawks. It was a battleground of fans. I knew I wanted to see a hockey game live before I even knew a thing about the sport. For my birthday my dad got us tickets. I had said, let's go see the Hawks. He didn't want to drive all the way to Chicago so we settled for the Blues. After the first game of seeing David Backes crashing people into the boards I was hooked. From the physical play to the obscenely drunk old man who's wavering howl of Lets go Blue echoed through our section, I loved it all. I never questioned after that; I'm a Blues fan.
So tell me, why do you, and why does Saint Louis love hockey so much? Answer in the comments.