I don’t need to explain the importance of the St. Louis Blues finally making it to the Stanley Cup Final. You know the importance. You felt it, the adrenaline coursing through your vein at the end of game six against the Sharks. The cardiologists of St. Louis have probably seen an influx in the last few weeks. It’s nerve wracking. You’ve probably come close to a heart attack a few times in this year’s playoffs, and that’s fine. You’re here, we’re here, and we are a little nervous despite having a stone cold starting goalie who isn’t.
While we suffer through this long wait until game one, there are a few things to make it a little less painful, and number one for me is seeing the joy this brings to my family. I was raised in a hockey house. No other sport came close. It never will. I want to introduce you to a small part of my family, in hopes that we can expand out and learn about yours. I asked my sister, brother, and mother three different questions about their love for the Blues and one story that comes out of this is my absolute favorite hockey story. I hope you enjoy.
(For the sake of questioning, I will use RR to show my questions, and their initials to show their answers.
First, I questioned my older sister, Nikki. She, for a long time, was the sibling I was closest to. Yet she never really showed much love for the Blues, so I was curious.
RR - Growing up you seemed to be the only one who wasn't a big Blues fan. I don't know if I was just oblivious to your passion for hockey, or did it develop longer over time?
NR - Maybe a little of both. I always liked it, it was always fun to watch, but I didn't really love it until I started getting older and going to more games. Going to the games is what got me hooked. The atmosphere, the fans, the noise, the passion from every individual coming together in one building. It was like a huge family you always want to be a part of. The older I got, the more I learned. The more I learned and watched, the more I grew to love the sport.
RR - Hockey has a rich tradition in our family, and now, with all of us kids having children of our own, what is the one thing you learned about the Blues from our family that you hope to teach your kids?
NR - The bond. The bond in this family when it comes to hockey, is unlike any other bond. We don’t just say we bleed blue, we really, truly bleed blue. To us, it's not just a sport. It's a lifestyle. We love the team just as if they were our own. We follow their lives and learn about their families just as we would our own families. You feel connected to them and sometimes it's almost as if you can feel what they are feeling. Sometimes that can be the best high you've ever been on, like right now, and sometimes it’s heartbreaking.
Truth is, we still stay here, every year, because of the love we have for the team. For me, the bond it brings within our own family, I can only pray that my kids grow up with the same passion.
Next I talked to my older brother Joey, you can follow him on twitter, here.
RR - This family has always been a Blues first family, and we were raised to bleed blue. What is your first memory of the St. Louis Blues?
JC - The first thing that comes to mind was Mom took me to a game in 93/94. I was a huge fan of the Mighty Ducks Movie so she got standing room only tickets for super cheap and I got to watch the Blues play the Mighty Ducks. I remember us going up like 2 or 3 to 0 and a couple people started to leave, so we got to move down and sit in the lower bowl. That was my first live game and after it, I was hooked. My biggest memory was watching game 4 against Chicago on TV knowing mom was at the game, the night the Blues swept the Blackhawks and Ed Belfour went nuts.
RR - You moved to Kansas a few years ago, so it's more difficult for you to attend Blues games. Clearly St. Louis has flown under the radar as a hockey town for a long time, but what's it like across state lines? The rivalry between the Royals and Cardinals is always there in the Highway 70 series, but is there a St. Louis love at all with Blues fans there?
JC - First and foremost there really isn’t a Cards/Royals rivalry. The KC people think there is, but it doesn’t actually exist. I don’t get out as much as I would like but when I get to go out and watch a game in KC it is at the Blueline. It’s an awesome hockey bar that is tucked away in the river market. They have great food that’s mostly hockey themed and you will always find a bunch of Blues jerseys there on game day. I remember when we played Chicago in 2016 and we packed the house for game 7. It was about a 70/30 split of Blues and Blackhawks. I always get Let’s Go Blues when I am out and have some of my gear on.
P.S. Blues in 6!
Lastly, I talked to my momma. She’s the strongest person I know, and the biggest hockey fan I’ve ever met. I really think you’ll enjoy this one. By the way, give her a follow on twitter, here.
RR - You taught us kids all about hockey, and there will never be a question about where our passion comes from. Tell us how long have you been a Blues fan and what’s the first memory you have about the Blues?
TP - I’ve been a fan since I was about 5 years old. I don’t remember a lot from my childhood, you know how I forget things and why. But I remember Bobby Orr flying thru the air. It’s time for some revenge.
RR - My last question isn't really a question at all. It’s no secret in our family that we are so lucky to still have you with us, so I want to give the readers a little background on this really fast. You were diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis, and condition that causes inflammation in blood vessels. This constricts blood flow to many vital organs, including the heart, lungs, and kidneys. You had open heart surgery to repair the mitro valve, which the doctor failed to actually repair. Luckily though, another hospital and the grace of God helped you through. Now that our readers are up to date, can you tell them the greatest Blues story I’ve ever heard?
TP - 15 years ago I had open heart surgery. It was a 4 hour surgery that took almost 11 hrs. After the surgery, all the doctor would say that I was a very sick young woman. They kept me in a drug induced coma the day after the surgery to recover. When it came time take me off the anesthesia, they were having a very difficult time getting me to wake up. My husband told them that he knew how to do it, so of course they listened. He told them to turn the Blues game on. Of course they looked at him like he had two heads, but they thought they’d try it to see if it would help. So they moved the TV beside the head of my bed and turned the game on . To their surprise, the Blues scored and the goal horn went off, and I opened my eyes and looked up toward the TV. I don’t remember much about those days. What I do remember is that the Blues scored 5 goals that night against the Kings
Every time they scored, I opened my eyes. After going through such a horrible ordeal, the Blues gave me inspiration and very much happiness. Next to my family, this team is my life. I will forever love my Boys in Blue.
That wraps up my peek into my hockey family. I hope you enjoyed the stories, and I’d love to hear from you about what drives your passion for this sport and this team!