Every year the St. Louis Blues suit up for the upcoming season, something all 30 NHL teams have in common. However, they do it a little differently.
Although not a member of the original six, the Blues have established their own collection of St. Louis traditions that diversify them from the rest of the league. If you’re a Blues fan you have to get out to a home game to see these three traditions in action.
Home of the Blues
At the end of the American national anthem is the lyric “the home of the brave”; however, at Scottrade Center in the heart of St. Louis it’s become “the home of the Blues”. While not a drastically different lyric, it makes certain that fans and players alike know just what arena they’re in.
The cheer can be heard behind the singing of Charles Glenn at about 2:10 of this video that was shot just prior to game one of the Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks two seasons ago.
Logistically, it being the ending of the anthem and the start of the game helps to rile up the players and the crowd in preparation for what hopes to be a solid Blues hockey game.
Power Play Dance
In regular arenas, fans are happy when their team is about to take the ice and start a power play; however, for Blues fans it’s the time for the most intriguing of traditions: the power play dance. When the Blues have a man advantage the bulk of the crowd donning Blues attire moves their arms up and down as they dance to the power play song, “2 Unlimited” by Twilight Zone.
The movement goes a little something like this:
If you’ve never made it out to STL for a game, it’s something you’ve got to see. While a little strange, it’s an entertaining spectacle for any sports fan to experience in person.
Goal Bell and the “Towel Man”
The last tradition for the purposes of this article is the bell that tracks and counts the number of goals the team has scored throughout the game. Although it’s surely hated by opposing goalies and teams around the league, it bridges the gap between fans and players by simultaneously celebrating offensive production.
The bell alone doesn’t distinguish the Blues as different from other NHL organizations, though. That distinction belongs to Ron Baechle, or as he’s better-known the “towel man”. For the last 25 years Baechle has thrown a towel into the crowd after each Blues goal, which has developed into a staple of St. Louis Blues games.
Like most traditions it just came to be. Fans loved it and the “towel man” was an expectation of Blues fans at home games. That love has allowed Baechle to continue the tradition for the last quarter century
He can be found in section 314 during most games for those interested in finding him the next time they’re in St. Louis.
Ultimately these things combine to form the essence of Blues hockey outside of the game itself. They create the atmosphere of Scottrade Center and they establish the home of the Blues. To put it frankly, St. Louis Blues hockey is one of a kind.
What is your favorite tradition? Leave it in the comments below.