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STA N LEY CU P FI NA L PA R A DE EDIT ION

SUNDAY • 06.16.2019 • $4.00 • FINAL EDITION

CUP IS OURS Parade and rally packed for Blues’ party

ROBERT COHEN • rcohen@post-dispatch.com

Blues fans crowd in to touch the Stanley Cup as Brayden Schenn walks it toward the Gateway Arch after the parade down Market Street in downtown St. Louis on Saturday.

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BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Corwin Johnson, 1, of Pilot Knob, is placed into the Stanley Cup by Patrick Maroon on Saturday during the victory parade downtown.

DAY OF DREAMS COMES TRUE Stillman, Blues own their biggest party BY JIM THOMAS St. Louis Post-Dispatch

F

rom the moment he became chairman and governor of the St. Louis Blues seven years ago, Tom Stillman dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup. Naturally, but his imagination never quite made it to Saturday. “I really didn’t allow myself to get that far in the dream,” the Blues’ owner told the Post-Dispatch. “It was a goal to win a Cup and to have a parade. But I would stop my thinking; I didn’t want to go there. Didn’t want to jinx it. ‘No, no. I’m not going to picture that.’ ... I wouldn’t quite let myself imagine the day itself.” Well,picture this: Maybe 20 minutes before noon Saturday, Stillman and Blues president and CEO of business operations Chris Zimmerman stepped out of a side entrance at Enterprise Center and worked their way towards a vintage 1978 red fire engine with their names on it. It took a while to get there. While fans applauded, Stillman shook hands and posed for selfies. Then he made his way across Clark Avenue for more of the same. When he finally made his way over to the fire engine, he asked a reporter: “Is everybody soaked? Are they uncomfortable?” He was wondering about the fans thousands upon thousands of them - who came out on a rainy morning. Just minutes before Stillman came out, a fan walked by wearing a “Kroenke Sucks” T-shirt. When it comes to sports, St. Louisans have long memories and deep loyalty.They will never forget how one owner trashed the city on his way out of town with the Rams. And they will never, ever forget how another owner brought a parade to town with the Stanley Cup they had been desiring for 51 seasons. “Sitting next to him in that team picture with the Cup in front of us at center ice, that was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Zimmerman said. “I know what Tom has put into it to get us here. And it’s just exceptional.” Almost as exceptional as that parade down Market Street on Saturday afternoon, capped by a rally under the Gateway Arch. It was a parade unlike anything St. Louis has ever seen. There was Jordan Binnington temporarily joining the Oakville High marching band much to the delight and astonishment of band members. Clean-shaven Pat Maroon didn’t kiss babies, the pride of Oakville just placed them inside the Cup for photo opps. Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev dancing in the street. Vladimir Tarasenko signing a fan’s Tarasenko jersey. Ryan O’Reilly wearing a hat from the Clint Eastwood collection (western movie division), and getting beers from fans for a quick swig as he walked down the parade route. Yes, the Blues have had a lot of malted beverages since defeating the Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 of the Cup Final on Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston. Anyone who was on Market Street on Saturday or with access to social media in recent days could see that was the case. (To the point where

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Blues owner Tom Stillman acknowledges the huge crowd during the Stanley Cup victory parade on Saturday in downtown St. Louis.

one Blues player - who shall remain nameless - vomited BEFORE the parade.) As for Stillman, he took a more low-key approach. He was still working on a cup of coffee as he hopped on the back of the fire truck with Zimmerman. As he rode down Market, he did a lot of smiling and pointing at the fans lining the streets, as if to say: “You deserve this.This is for you.” There was lots of applause as he rode by. However appreciative, the fans were here to see the players. This was never more apparent than when Stillman began to address the crowd on the stage underneath the Arch. He had just begun his remarks, when there were chants of “Vladi! Vladi!”

from the crowd. Tarasenko wasn’t among several Blues stars introduced before Stillman took the stage. The fans wanted to see No. 91 holding up the Cup. Stillman laughed, and after Tarasenko’s curtain call, finally got his chance to speak. He talked about the storybook season, and how players and coaches showed what can be accomplished with persistence, resilience and character. He used those same words to describe Blues fans. “Really the most important people in this effort were all of you,” Stillman said looking out at a sea of blue. “Blues fans throughout the St. Louis area, you’ve sup-

ported us since 1967 through the ups and downs, through the victories and the disappointments. “You’ve shown us and the country what real persistence, resilience and character are. What we did is we fed off you. We followed your example. We saw how the whole city, the whole region came together behind the Blues. We had one common effort....This Cup is here because of you.” Prior to the parade, Stillman praised general manager Doug Armstrong and the front office staff for putting together “a fantastic roster of not only ability, but guys chosen for character.” He saluted coach Craig Berube and his staff for being “masterful in their leadership.” “You also can’t forget the business side,” he continued. “Chris Zimmerman and 100-plus people on that side that are making sure we can do this by selling the tickets and marketing the team, and all those things.” Even in the darkest days of the season, with the team floundering in last place after the firing of Mike Yeo, Stillman never lost faith. “We weren’t gonna give up, right?,” Stillman said. “We had to keep going. I’m so proud of the guys. They dug deep. They faced a steep climb.” And they climbed the mountain. All of which made Saturday one of the best days in St. Louis sports history. “It’s a big day,” Stillman said. “And it’s a story that we’ll be talking about for generations.” The day Tom Stillman and the Blues brought a parade - and the Stanley Cup to St. Louis. “It was beyond anything I could have imagined,” he said.

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Thousands gather to watch the Stanley Cup victory parade as it heads down Market Street on Saturday.


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M 1 • SUnDAy • 06.16.2019

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Center Ryan O’Reilly drinks a beer poured by defenseman Alex Pietrangelo during the Stanley Cup victory parade on Saturday in downtown St. Louis.

PLAYERS SHOW EMOTIONS Celebrations on the stage full of memorable moments BY TOM TIMMERMANN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

H

ow best to sum up the Blues’ victory parade and celebration on Saturday? Ryan O’Reilly has done everything for the team this season, so we’ll let him do it. “This is a city of amazing hockey fans,” he said from the stage under the Gateway Arch in front of thousands of assembled fans, wearing a hat that Clint Eastwood might have worn in Fistful of Dollars, “amazingly nice people and amazing drinkers as well. They can handle their stuff. It’s awesome. I love it.” In a city built on beer, the juices were flowing on Saturday. It took the parade two hours to cover the mile and a half between Union Station and the Arch and it seemed every time the parade stopped, for some uncertain reason, it was a signal for a Blues player to get out of their vehicle, find a fan with a beer, and guzzle one. It was a long parade. It was a long time coming. The celebration the city had waited 52 years finally happened on Saturday, and there was no shortage of pent-up euphoria. For those who feared they would pass from this world to the next without seeing something like this, their patience and persistence was finally rewarded. And the Blues were only too glad to share it with them. “This year, I got my parade,” said original Blue Bobby Plager. It was not only unbridled joy, but uncensored joy too. Goalie Jordan Binnington, asked jokingly by Blues broadcaster Darren Pang if he was nervous, a repeat of the question that helped launch Binnington’s off-ice stonecold persona, Binnington yelled to the crowd, “You want to see some (bleeping) emotion? We’re Stanley Cup champions!” And Larry Robinson, who as a consultant to the team was part of his 10th Stanley Cup champion, was asked which thumb he would put this ring on. Instead, he demurred and held up his middle finger and said, “This one’s for Boston.” There’s something special about a 68-year-old man talking smack, and it takes someone who’s won 10 Stanley Cups to be able to get away with something like that. Robinson said he had never seen a victory celebration like this in any of his previous Cup wins, and that’s not too surprising considering that no city had ever waited this long for an NHL team to win its first Stanley Cup. It was a win impossible to be blasé about. Pat Maroon, one of two native sons of St. Louis on the team, was predictably excited. “I’m a hometown hero St. Louis,” Maroon screamed. “Put your glasses up St. Louis. Look around right now. We’re Stanley Cup champs baby! Wooo!” He closed with maybe the day’s most unnecessary comment: “Let’s party tonight, baby!” The Blues’ road to the Stanley Cup was circuitous, and their road to the victory celebration had only a handful of turns but was eventful in its own way. And symbolic. On Market Street just past Eighth Street, someone had laid a St. Louis Rams towel in the middle of the street, so that the Blues parade would ceremoniously drive over it.

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Left wing David Perron, left, embraces defenseman Robert Bortuzzo on Saturday during the Stanley Cup victory parade in downtown St. Louis.

There was no sterility to this parade, rather a pure baring of the souls of the players and fans. Brayden Schenn seemed to spend more time running along the crowd, slapping hands, than riding on his antique fire engine. (At one point, he started doing it wearing a fireman’s helmet.) Robert Bortuzzo and his father embraced the moment, being handed beers from fans and chugging them down. The drinking was often punctuated by tossing the empty beer

can into the crowd. Bortuzzo at one point began waving one of the championship flags that was being carried on the route, only to have the two-piece flagpole separate, sending the flag flying into the crowd. No one flinched. It was part of the party. The crowd was at least 10 deep the length of the parade route, and anywhere there was a cross street or a building with stairs or a planter that provided a better view, the crowd got

deeper. At the Stadium East parking garage near the end of the route, fans lined the roof and could be seen poking out through the slits in the walls at every level, like Play-Doh being pressed through a mold. Fans at street level reached out for their heroes and were rewarded with slaps and selfies and were sprayed with champagne from the players. This was a championship to be shared, not hoarded. Jake Allen autographed a baby’s leg. His name was not the first. No one seemed to be having a better time than rookie forward Sammy Blais, who appeared to have achieved some sort of zen and just moved with the rhythm of whatever music was playing. He led the crowd in cheers, getting a Vlad-i! Vlad-i! chant going while team chairman Tom Stillman was trying to speak. After captain Alex Pietrangelo spoke to close the proceedings, and raised the Cup a few more times, they began playing “We Are the Champions,” by Queen. The Blues gathered around the Cup to sing. Everyone knew the lyrics. Early on in the proceedings, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong looked out at the crowd and declared, “God loves the Blues.” That may not entirely explain what happened in the previous 50 seasons of the franchise’s history, but he closed with a sentiment that everyone in attendance would probably agree with, a sentiment he cleaned up himself. “I’m so effing proud of these guys.” Tom Timmermann • 314-340-8190 @tomtimm on Twitter ttimmermann@post-dispatch.com

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Bobby Plager waves to the crowd during the parade on Saturday in St. Louis. “This year, I got my parade,” said the original Blue.


06.16.2019 • Sunday • M 1

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W10 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL PARADE

M 1 • SUNDAY • 06.16.2019

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Blues fans react as the Stanley Cup approaches on Saturday during the victory parade in downtown St. Louis.

BRINGING US TOGETHER Saturday’s celebration was unique moment in St. Louis sports history BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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y fifth-grade teacher was Mr. Stock. He taught us linking verbs and sentence diagramming and an appreciation of Blues hockey. He was, really, the first huge Blues fan in my life – and my first exposure to what this team can do to a person. At the fifth-grade “graduation” ceremony (Meramec Elementary, Class of ‘91!), Roger Stock even said to the audience: “Benjamin did his best to try to convince me that baseball is better than hockey.” On Saturday, walking along Market Street next to Alex Pietrangelo and the Stanley Cup, I thought of Mr. Stock. What did all of this mean to him? Was he there somewhere? So, I called him up. He’s 71. Just had a kidney transplant this spring – and another surgery, too. He said he couldn’t leave the house “without wearing a mask and gloves and this, that and the other.” He even watched Game 7 alone, though his neighbors, he suggested, might’ve heard his hollering. “What has come out of it is just beyond belief,” he said of the champion Blues. “I don’t think I’ve seen our city this excited. You think of all the Cardinal championships and the Super Bowl. This Stanley Cup has brought St. Louis together for the past several weeks in a way I don’t think we’ll see the likes of for a long time. And that’s a really good feeling, because you take a look at the news, and you hear all the doom and gloom. … “And the message that is given directly and subliminally is – there is hope in everything. And for St. Louis.” This Blues championship was for all the Mr. Stocks (actually, he became Dr. Stock, “and icing on the cake, when I became a principal at Chesterfield Elementary, who do I have in my school? Jordy, Dusty and Drew Federko. I idolized their dad!”). There are so many men and women who feel this titillating, intoxicating connection to the St. Louis Blues. This team just does something to them. But by investing your emotions, by allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you open yourself up to heartbreak. And every Blues fan, no matter the age, at some time on their life, has felt heartbreak. A shared experience. And so, like Mr. Stock suggested, that’s why this championship is just different. The Rams Super Bowl was scintillating, but a small part of us felt guilty that we only had this team for five years – could this bliss be truly full, if we didn’t experience a lifetime of this team (or even, at least, a decade?). And each Cardinals championship is special in its own way, and few things in sports can top the 2011 Cardinals’ run, though the 2019 Blues’ run sure does. But the Cardinals have won before. This Blues feeling was new. Unique. And – it’ll might not ever happen again, and even if it does, it won’t be as important, as special. “For the last 52 years, you showed persistence, resilience and character,” Blues owner Tom Stillman said Saturday to the fans from the stage at the

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Ron Baechle, aka Towel Man, high-fives the crowd at the start of the victory parade along Market Street.

Arch grounds. “And what we did was – we fed off you. … We are a reflection of you.” So many images and memories stick from the parade. One that stands out — the times a Blues player would walk by fans with the Cup, and as someone touched it, that person would just burst into tears. Saturday was a once-in-alifetime day for St. Louis and St. Lou-

isans and St. Louis’ Blues. The tears and celebratory chugging of beers. The turn to a loved one – there’s a kiss, there’s a hug, there’s a scream, there’s a look at the selfie with the Cup … followed by another selfie of their post-touched-the-Cup self, as if they changed forever. And, man, the look on one little girl’s face as she touched the Cup – and then

looked back to her mom and shrieked: “I touched the Cup!” “It still feels like a dream,” said Melissa Plager Briggs, 43, the daughter of Blues legend Bobby Plager. “This is crazy, all these people here. I feel like next week maybe it’ll sink in, when I can comprehend it all in my brain. “Just to see how everybody came together through this whole playoff run, and the whole ‘Gloria’ thing, and everywhere you go, you see Blues shirts. And all these kids, they’re going to remember this for the rest of their lives – it’s like 1982, when the Cardinals won the World Series (for the first time since 1967). This is like their Cardinal experience. … There have been tears for, like, the last three weeks, OK? There have been tears when we win, tears when we lose, tears when I think about it, tears when I think about my uncle Barclay (Plager, the former Blues star), who’s obviously looking down and watching this.” And then, she started tearing up again. We stood underneath the Arch. The parade and rally had just ended. Sunny afternoon. Blues players floated by. Jon Hamm. Al MacInnis. What a moment. Blues bliss. This city deserved this. Mr. Stock deserved this. And so did all the people he taught an appreciation of Blues hockey. And all the people you taught, too. Baseball is pretty great. But this is truly a two-sport town.

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Blues defenseman Colton Parayko and 11-year-old Laila Anderson hoist up the Stanley Cup during the victory rally at the Arch grounds.

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A glorious

18,873 Days in the making.

Great things come to those who refuse to give up their dreams. On behalf of everyone at Bayer, congratulations to the St. Louis Blues on a historic season and their big win. We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate alongside our beloved city and the best fans on Earth.

©2019 Bayer Group. All Rights Reserved.


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M 1 • SUNDAY • 06.16.2019

PHOTOS BY LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Bobby Reidelberger of Maryville hoists the Stanley Cup alongside Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo during the Stanley Cup victory parade on Saturday.

THE CAPTAIN AND HIS CUP Magical day for Pietrangelo, his family and fans touched by it all BEN FREDERICKSON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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he first Blues player to lift the Stanley Cup encountered a significant problem at 12:18 p.m. on Saturday. Alex Pietrangelo was supposed to figure out how to lug his 34.5 pound Cup to the top of the Clydesdale-led Budweiser wagon waiting for him at Enterprise Center. And if that wasn’t hard enough, the captain had other precious cargo to consider. His wife, mom, dad, mother-in-law and infant triplets were supposed to ride with the defenseman in the Blues’ Stanley Cup championship parade. The Clydesdales were a curveball. The parade was starting. Like, now. “First I can remember,” Keeper of the Cup Philip Pritchard said when asked if the trophy had been pulled by horses. “But, in hockey, there is always a way.” And in St. Louis, there is a captain who leads the way. Pietrangelo pivoted with precision, assigning his wife to the Budweiser wagon and steering everyone else toward the golf cart that would follow behind. Once settled in above the crowd with his bride and his prize, he realized an important task remained. He lifted the Cup into the air, drawing one of the loudest roars heard downtown on this day. “I need a beer,” he said. I want to tell you all this,because I know some wanted to be here and could not, and some who came could not see it very well, and even those who came and saw caught just a glimpse. There were so many magical moments. So, come along with your captain on his 1.5 mile-long memory with a city that waited nearly 52 years. You all were relentless, just like your Blues. You popped champagne in alleys. You turned the tops of portable bathrooms into couches. You climbed light poles and peered down from parking garages. You drank and sang and chanted and cheered and, after you grazed the Cup, you cried. Pietrangelo heard your applause. He saw you pulling that ‘C’ on your sweater — his sweater — a sign that you understand his role on this worst-to-first team. He hopped off the wagon and brought the Cup to you, letting you push against the partitions until they were about to pop. Upon request, he poured a beer atop a bald man’s head. He hugged those who were celebrating birthdays, whether they were turning 54, or nine. He waved a flag that said “History Made” from the back of a fire truck. And every single time you called for it, even after his legs were burning and his biceps were barking, he lifted the Cup. “I didn’t think I was going to work out for a few weeks,” he said. “I guess I’m right back at it. Pretty amazing, though.” He raced ahead, handing the Cup to Alexander Steen, Ryan O’Reilly, Pat Maroon. “I’ll never see it again,” Pietrangelo said once Big Rig took hold, and it was hard to tell if he was serious. Before he handed it to Vladimir Tarasenko, No. 91 put his hands on Pietrangelo’s face and said,“We did it!” When Vince Dunn started sprinting up and down the street with the Cup, Pietrangelo looked at him like a concerned parent. He’s a father, first and foremost. Every 10 minutes or so, Pietrangelo

Joe and Edi Pietrangelo, the parents of Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo, hold two of Alex and wife Jayne’s triplets during the victory rally at the Arch grounds.

Alex Pietrangelo holds the Stanley Cup as he rides the Budweiser float pulled by the Clydesdales on Saturday.

dropped back to the cart to check on his babies and their grandparents. If the Cup was up ahead, he had an arm wrapped around his wife, Jayne, or held one of their three tots: Evelyn, Oliver, and Theodore. These were powerful images even if you don’t know the backstory of the challenging pregnancy issues the Pietrangelos experienced in the past, a story they were brave enough to share with the world. “This is what it’s all about right here,” he said, nodding to his kids. His parents beamed. “Happy tears,” said Edi Pietrangelo, the mother of the captain.“Very proud.” It was around 1:30 p.m. when Jayne dodged a beer shower her husband welcomed with open arms. It was 2 p.m. when she figured, forget it, and started spraying champagne, soaking everyone, including herself. Did you know she was a Blues fan long before her husband led the Blues? “I’ve seen him accomplish so much,” Jayne said. “He’s such a hard worker. It’s

so well-deserved for him and the entire team. They jelled together, found the chemistry. After all of these years, they brought the Cup to St. Louis, to my hometown. It means the world to all of us.” Every time the captain saw an officer in uniform, he stopped to shake hands. And if the Cup was in his possession, Pietrangelo made sure they touched it and took a picture with it. “Don’t quote me,” one of the officers said. “But that was awesome.” The Budweiser dalmatian is named April. April fell in love with Alex. When he climbed down from the wagon, April watched him like her owner had just left for work. When he made his way back, her tail wagged a mile a minute. “I want the dog,” he joked. He patted her on the head. Her tail hit overdrive. I tried (and failed) to count the times the Cup was hoisted and the bottle count of beers consumed. Both were im-

pressive. But the only number that stuck with me after it was over was three. Three times on Saturday, Pietrangelo made a miracle. First came 20-year-old Harrison Schmidt. He had tried to play hockey in the Special Olympics last season, but skating was hard for him. Still, he loves Pietrangelo so much he came to the parade wearing the captain’s jersey backward, as if he wanted to be able to look down and see the name. Pietrangelo saw Harrison and came over to ask a question. “Want to walk with me?” Harrison’s family could not believe it, but there went Harrison, through the gate and up Market Street, with Pietrangelo, to lift the Cup. The second was Bobby Reidelberger. Pietrangelo invited him onto the route from the crowd and pushed his wheelchair toward 8th and Market, where Maroon was displaying Stanley. Reidelberger touched it and began to weep. Pietrangelo hugged him, then handed him a Busch Light. The third was David Mellitz. He has Spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. Pietrangelo didn’t know this part, but the reason Mellitz became a Blues fan in the first place was because the team visited him in the children’s hospital in the late 70’s. They left him a poster. Pietrangelo helped him lift the Cup. He stayed out there so long they nearly lost him. Two police officers had to rush the captain through a closing pack of humanity to get him to the stage for the ceremony beneath the Arch. Fans who were getting bumped were getting mad — until they realized that was Pietrangelo being rushed past. “I just shook Pietrangelo’s hand!” a woman yelled. “You are the champion of the world, baby!” hollered a man. “Legend forever,” shouted someone in the chaos. Pietrangelo downplayed his impact. He always does. “Just doing my part,” he said. If you watched it, you knew better. Ben Frederickson @Ben_Fred on Twitter bfrederickson@post-dispatch.com


06.16.2019 • Sunday • M 1

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CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2019 STANLEY CUP

CHAMPION ST. LOUIS BLUES!! IT WAS A GLORIA-OUS RIDE!!! For great hockey call them.... For a great money market call us at 314-931-4000

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STANLEY CUP FINAL PARADE

M 1 • SUnDAy • 06.16.2019

ROBERT COHEN • rcohen@post-dispatch.com

Blues defenseman Vince Dunn sprays the crowd with champagne during the championship parade Saturday on Market Street in downtown St. Louis.

BLUES WAVE ENGULFS ST. LOUIS Rain can’t stop celebration of Cup championship BY COLLEEN SCHRAPPEN, BRYCE GRAY AND JESSE BOGAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

I

ntermittent rain was no match for the blue wave — and the Blues wave — that swept down Market Street on Saturday, overflowing onto the Gateway Arch grounds where the sea of fans roared for their championship hockey heroes. If only the muddy Mississippi River would have run blue. Perhaps next year. “It’s amazing to look out and see all this blue,” David Lawrence, 37, an offduty security officer from Godfrey who was among more than 100,000 people in the festive crowd. Authorities did not release an official estimate. He said seeing the Stanley Cup paraded through downtown was a “dream come true.” Others on the route that stretched from 18th Street to Broadway were able to do more than just see the Cup. “We actually got to touch it,” said Dan Albers, a retired UPS driver who came back to St. Louis from Florida for the festivities. “It was surreal. I am 57. I didn’t think this would ever happen.” The party — which officially started at noon but had been building since the Game 7 win Wednesday night — was equal to the accomplishment. In early January, the Blues were in last place. This wasn’t supposed to be the year. “This is another notch on the belt where everyone underestimates us, and we rise up,” said Jahi Eskridge, 28, of University City, after playing trombone on stage during newly retired national anthem singer Charles Glenn’s musical performance. Randy Sapienza, 36, of St. Louis, said from under the Arch that he estimated that the crowd of “diehards” was larger than when the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011. “This is the biggest party St. Louis has ever seen,” he said. For Ben Munson, of O’Fallon, Mo., losing a night’s sleep was not too big a sacrifice to provide his 5-year-old son with a close-up view of the team. Munson had planned to come downtown at the crack of dawn when he heard on the 10 o’clock news Friday night that Kiener Plaza was already filling up. So he left his sleeping wife to stake out a place on the sidewalk in front of Stifel Theatre. At first, it was him and his chair. As night wore into morning, he met his new neighbors. One of them was Bob Pinkley. He arrived from Crystal City with a crew of 15. His group doubled by midmorning and huddled under a tan pop-up tent during a quick rain shower. “We wanted to make sure we were on the front row to see the guys who won. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this Cup,” said Pinkley, who was born in 1967, the same year as the Blues. Lifelong Blues fan Mark Robinson, of Kirkwood, arrived at the Arch grounds at 8 a.m. with his wife. Their children, who live out of town, expected them to be there. “And we can send them pictures,” he said.

Robinson said the parade atmosphere was an extension of the playoff watch parties — a shared experience. “There was absolutely this sort of collective bond, where you were hugging people you didn’t even know,” he said of the two-month-long postseason run. Cody Fulkerson and Amanda Grellner woke up at 5:30 a.m. to drive from their home in Linn, Mo., near Jefferson City. Fulkerson said he couldn’t have envisioned this ending to the season, especially with the Blues mired in the NHL cellar in early January. “It’s a great story,” he said. “Even for young kids: Don’t give up.” “The energy is incredible,” said Grellner, 47. “It’s something that can bring people from all walks of life together. ... For St. Louis, I think that’s something we need.” Blues jerseys and flags were visible all along the route; chants filled the air in some places: “We got the Cup! We got the Cup!” People came together even as their fanaticism inspired them to find ways to stand out — in blue and yellow leis, painted faces and “Gloria” gear. They were blowing horns, climbing lampposts and batting beach balls overhead. Brandon Breault fully committed with a baby-blue leisure suit circa 1970, set off with a cowboy hat and boots. He got a little warm during the walk from his home in Lafayette Square despite the cooler than usual temperature. But it was totally worth it, he said. Breault, 32, wore it in honor of his dad, the suit’s original owner, and to mark the last time the Blues were in the Stanley Cup Final. “It’s been 50 years. It just made

come with plenty of heartbreak over the years. “Seeing them go this far, you understand how hard it is to win the whole thing,” Coughlin said. Rhonda Rizzo, 55, fell in love the with Blues about the same time she fell in love with her husband, Jim Rizzo, 52. He took her to her first game when they started dating in the 1980s, and she has been a fan since. “It’s just exciting,” said Jim Rizzo, of Webster Groves. “St. Louis is always getting a bad rap for stuff.” “This makes us proud to be in St. Louis,” said his friend, Vikki Sanders. As the Blues rolled by, many fans yelled “thank you” and “congratulations,” sentiments that were returned by the players, who tapped their chests and pointed back to the crowd. Players hopped in and out of firetrucks, convertibles and pickups, taking selfies, spraying beer and prompting the crowd with the familiar three chimes that always led to a bellow of “Let’s go, Blues!” Todd Medley, 47, of Festus, cheered for all of it. The bands, the staff, the heroes of his youth: Bernie Federko, Brett Hull, Al MacInnis. He held his 5-year-old, Jaden, while 10-year-old Camden whipped around a rally towel and hollered for the next generation of heroes: Jordan Binnington, Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn. “It’s everything I thought it would be,” said Medley, his eyes brimming with tears. “It feels real now.”

sense,” said Breault of the vintage threads and the Blues’ victory. Public transportation and traffic were jammed up coming into downtown. By the time the parade started, the route and rally site were packed with people, sometimes 30 deep. The St. Louis police color guard led off, followed by marching bands, a fleet of Zambonis and Louie the mascot shaking his hips atop a blue van. Then the big guns: Coach Craig Berube, hockey legend Bobby Plager, superfan Laila Anderson. And finally, the team. The ones who got it done. Leilani Hafley, 80, of Wildwood, made a beeline through the wall of revelers to take pictures of some players: the goalie and “that other guy.” In her excitement, she was briefly separated from her family. When reunited, the family figured out the other player’s name: MVP Ryan O’Reilly. But all Hafley got for her trouble were pictures of other people taking pictures. Regardless, she was glad to be at the celebration in honor of her brother, who died five years ago. “He was such a huge fan. He’d grab you in a head hold and beat you up (kindly) if they made a goal,” Hafley said. Kevin Coughlin, 53, of south St. Louis County, said he saw every game of the season. He grew up in Belleville playing street hockey and listening to Dan Kelly announce the games on the radio. “I love the Cardinals but the Blues take precedence,” he said from his perch in Kiener Plaza. He loves the beauty of the pass and shot, as well as the teamwork. “There’s a lot that goes into the game,” he said. And being a fan has

Colleen Schrappen • 314-340-8072 @cschrappen on Twitter cschrappen@post-dispatch.com

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Karli Auble, 27, of St. Joseph, holds her 2-month-old son, John, on Saturday during the parade.


06.16.2019 • Sunday • M 1

STANLEY CUP FINAL PARADE

ST. LOuIS POST-dISPaTCH • W15

ROBERT COHEN • rcohen@post-dispatch.com

The Lindbergh High School marching band leads the Blues’ championship parade Saturday on Market Street in downtown St. Louis.

COLTER PETERSON • P-d

Joel Edmundson jumps on Robby Fabbri during the parade Saturday in St. Louis.

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Robert Thomas pours a beer onto a group of fans along the Stanley Cup victory parade route on Market Street.

COLTER PETERSON • P-d

Robert Thomas rides a miniature motorcycle on the parade route Saturday.

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Alexander Steen hoists the Stanley Cup as Alex Pietrangelo, center, and Ivan Barbashev hype up the crowd during the celebration at the Arch.


W16 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL PARADE

M 1 • SUnDAy • 06.16.2019

DAVID CARSON • dcarson@post-dispatch.com

A large crowd filed into the Arch grounds and lined Market Street to help the Blues celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade and rally Saturday in downtown St. Louis.

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Left wing David Perron kisses the Cup during the Blues’ victory parade on Saturday along Walnut Street in downtown St. Louis.

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06.16.2019 • Sunday • M 1

NEWS

ST. LOuIS POST-dISPaTCH • W17


W18 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

NEWS

M 1 • SUnDAy • 06.16.2019

Congratulations to our champions, the St. Louis Blues

Photo by Scott Rovak /St.Louis Blues

Transforming the health of the communities we serve.


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06.16.2019 • Sunday • M 1

ST. LOuIS POST-dISPaTCH • W19

The puck stops here. And so does the championship gear. Congrats, St. Louis!

Available in men’s, women’s and kids’ sizes. Selection of merchandise may vary by store.

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W20 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL PARADE

M 1 • SUnDAy • 06.16.2019

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Fans cheer as left wing Patrick Maroon drinks beer out of the Stanley Cup on Saturday during the victory parade in downtown St. Louis.

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Dressed as the Stanley Cup, made from a trash can and bucket, Kate Allenbaugh, 13, of Webster Groves, awaits the start of the victory parade.

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

NHL Hall of Famer Brett Hull holds up a replica of the Stanley Cup during the Blues’ victory parade on Saturday along Market Street in downtown St. Louis.

Left wing David Perron runs past fans with the Stanley Cup on Saturday during the victory parade in St. Louis.

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Blake Wielmuenster, of New Athens, hoists up a homemade beer bong on Saturday at the victory parade in downtown St. Louis.


NEWS

06.16.2019 • Sunday • M 1

ST. LOuIS POST-dISPaTCH • W21

s Congratulation ! St. Louis Blues

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W22 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL PARADE

M 1 • SUnDAy • 06.16.2019

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Paradegoers hang out of a parking garage along Walnut Street during the Blues’ Stanley Cup victory parade on Saturday in downtown St. Louis.

CHRISTINE TANNOUS • ctannous@post-dispatch.com

Ethan Weber dances with his niece, Bernadette, 7, of Bloomington, Ill., at the Gateway Arch.

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Stevie “Radar” Hedegois reacts as he gets his first view of the Stanley Cup during the victory parade along Market Street.

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Blues fans react as Vladimir Tarasenko lets them touch the Stanley Cup along the parade route downtown Saturday.

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

A fan holds up a Blue Note during the victory rally on he Gateway Arch grounds.


NEWS

06.16.2019 • Sunday • M 1

ST. LOuIS POST-dISPaTCH • W23

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W24 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

NEWS

M 1 • SUnDAy • 06.16.2019

PERFECT THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT. Congratulations, St. Louis, on your simply perfect finish.

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