St. Louis Blues Team Formation
St. Louis was the last of the six expansion teams to gain entry into the league, chosen over Baltimore at the insistence of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks were owned by the influential Wirtz family of Chicago, which also owned the decrepit St. Louis Arena. The Wirtzes sought to unload the Arena, which had not been well-maintained since the 1940s, and thus pressed the NHL to give the franchise to St. Louis, which had not submitted a formal expansion bid. NHL President Clarence Campbell said during the 1967 expansion meetings that "we want a team in St. Louis because of the city's geographical location and the fact that it has an adequate building." The team's first owners were insurance tycoon Sid Salomon Jr., his son, Sid Salomon III, and Robert L. Wolfson, who were granted the franchise in 1966. Sid Salomon III convinced his initially wary father to make a bid for the team. Former St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial and Musial's business partner Julius "Biggie" Garagnani were also members of the 16-man investment group that made the initial formal application for the franchise. Garagnani would never see the Blues' franchise take the ice, as he passed away from a heart attack on June 19, 1967, less than three months before the Blues' played their first preseason game. Upon acquiring the franchise in 1966, Salomon then spent several million dollars on massive renovations for the 38-year-old Arena, which increased the number of seats from 12,000 to 15,000.
Ralston Purina Ownership
The Salomons finally found a buyer in St. Louis-based pet food giant Ralston Purina in 1977, who renamed the Arena "the Checkerdome." Francis and minority owner Wolfson helped put together the deal with Ralston Purina, which ensured that the Blues would stay in St. Louis. Only a year after finishing with only 18 wins still the worst season in franchise history, the Blues made the playoffs in 1980, the first of 25 consecutive post-season appearances. The team's improvement continued into 1981, when the Berenson-coached team, led by Wayne Babych (54 goals), future Hall of Famer Bernie Federko (104 points), Brian Sutter (35 goals), and goaltender Mike Liut, second to Wayne Gretzky for the Hart Trophy, finished with 45 wins and 107 points, the second-best record in the league. Their regular-season success, however, did not transfer into the playoffs, as they were eliminated by the New York Rangers in the second round. The Blues followed their generally successful 1980 - 1981 campaign with two consecutive sub-.500 seasons, though they still managed to make the playoffs each year.
Harry Ornest Ownership
Kiel Center Opens
TowerBrook Capital Partners Ownership
|Blues Primary Logo History||Blues Alternate Logo History||No Wordmark Logo History|
|Team Information||Team History|
2007 - present
St. Louis Arena
Stanley Cups: 0
|*Red is this team's history|