At the beginning of October, the St. Louis Blues announced a creation of a team hall of fame. Much like their fellow franchise down the road, the Blues have years of players to honor, many of whom have not had the opportunity for further recognition outside of the franchise.
This might lead to the assumption that team halls of fame are just “halls of very good,” but if there’s something that the Blues’ initial class shows, that’s not going to be the case here in year one.
The team included all retired numbers into the hall this year, as well as other notable foundational franchise fixtures:
- Al MacInnis
- Bob Gassoff
- Bob Plager
- Barclay Plager
- Sid Salomon Jr. & Sid Salomon III, original team owners
- Brian Sutter
- Brett Hull
- Bernie Federko
- Chris Pronger
- Dan Kelly, legendary broadcaster
They also opened the floor to a fan vote, which included recent players such as David Backes and Alexander Steen as well as beloved fan favorites like Curtis Joseph, Keith Tkachuk, and Pavol Demitra. The remaining inductees were announced last night, and despite what many assumed, recency bias didn’t play a part.
Coach Scotty Bowman, Garry Unger, Red Berenson, and goaltender Glenn Hall were the selections, and you’d be hard pressed to argue with any of them.
Scotty Bowman was the Blues’ second coach, taking the helm after the departure of Lynn Patrick after just sixteen games. Bowman lead the new franchise to three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals appearances, As is an unfortunate trend with the Blues, Bowman left the team after a dispute with ownership, going on to coach the Montreal Canadiens and winning four consecutive Cups with the team between 1976-1979. Bowman retired from coaching in 2002, leaving the career with one final Stanley Cup in Detroit. At 1,244 wins, Bowman remains the winningest NHL coach of all time.
Garry Unger arrived in a trade with the Red Wings in 1971, and was a fixture on the Blues for eight and a half seasons before leaving to join the Atlanta Flames in 1979. He was the 1974 All-Star Game MVP. Unger is fourth all time on the Blues with 575 points, fourth all time with 292 goals, and fourth with 333 assists.
Red Berenson was acquired alongside Barclay Plager from the New York Rangers just seven weeks into the start of the 1967-1968 season. Both players are credited as key reasons that the Blues were able to command such franchise success at the beginning of their time in the NHL.
Berenson is, of course, most remembered for his six goals scored in one game, against the Philadelphia Flyers, on November 7th, 1968. It took him just nine minutes.
Berenson was a 2009 inductee into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.
Finally, Glenn Hall is one of the best goaltenders to play the game - and according to NHL.com, one of the best 100 players to ever play. His list of accomplishments includes the 1956 Calder, the Vezina Trophy in 1963, 1967, and in 1969 as a member of the Blues, thirteen All-Star Selections (two as a member of the Blues), the 1968 Conn Smythe Trophy despite the Blues losing in the Cup Final, and a 1975 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He’s 9th in GAA all-time for the Blues, 11th in games played, fourth in save percentage, and fourth in shutouts.
Hall was a 2012 inductee into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.