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St. Louis Blues Fans

Blues fans wait outside the Arena for a chance to buy single-game tickets in November, 1969. Post-Dispatch photo.

In November, 1969, in their third season in St. Louis, the Blues decided to allow advance single-game ticket sales to the public for the first time.

Here's the report from the Nov. 18, 1969, Post-Dispatch front page on how rabid fans lined up.

Standing much of the time in a cold, wind-driven mist, hundreds of persons waited for up to 11 hours yesterday for the chance to buy St. Louis Blues hockey tickets.

One of those who stood all day In a line at The Arena, 5700 Oakland Avenue, was a Catholic nun from Portland, Ore. The nun, a graduate student at St. Louis University, appeared puzzled when someone asked: "Would you wait this long for Notre Dame tickets sister?" "What's Notre Dame?" she replied, without a smile.

Her response seemed appropriate for this cold gathering of hockey partisans, many of whom expressed a willingness to wait all night to purchase some of the 90,000 tickets that went on sale yesterday for the 31 remaining Blues' home games.

In fact many did wait the night before outside the Arena where the ticket line began forming early Sunday afternoon.

Tickets went on sale at 9 a.m. yesterday. Until yesterday persons who did not hold season tickets could purchase tickets only for games of the following week.

Tickets were sold until 1 a.m. today when the office closed, A new line had formed when sales resumed at 9 a.m.

A Blues official reported that tickets were still available for all remaining games, but only about 200 were left for the Montreal game on March 14. When all seats have been sold, the hockey club plans to begin selling 1,000 to 1,200 standing room tickets for each game.

The Arena seats about 15,800, and about 13,000 season tickets were sold. The single game tickets are being sold until the supply runs out.

The ticket-buying crowd, with estimates ranging as high as 2000, were for the most part a jovial group, despite the weather and long wait.

Recorded music from a loud speaker system, featuring soothing string instruments, could be heard as the crowd made slow progress toward the entrance to the advance ticket sales office, at the northeast corner of The Arena.

There four women sold a wide variety of ticket combinations to a wide variety of hockey fans. There were women with babies, elderly couples and large groups of high school students. Sometimes the lines were three and four abreast.

One woman stood alongside the lines looking for her son who had not returned home after school. "What's going on here?" she said repeatedly, in an apparent disbelieving mood.

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Mrs. Joseph H. Wand, 6077 Wanda Avenue, a season ticket holder, wanted to buy more tickets, so she stood in line from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. When she walked out of the advance ticket office, she blinked and stumbled once, almost into the arms of her husband who had arrived to drive her home.

"I'm taking my wife to a psychiatrist now," Wand remarked with a laugh, as the couple walked away arm-in-arm.

William Dick of Alton, III., stood in the midst of a group of Lindbergh High School students and imparted information on his experiences in line-standing. Dick waited from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. to purchase bleacher seats for the fifth game of the 1968 World Series, only to have the game sold out before he could reach the ticket window.

"Everybody in these lines is a lot of fun, I'll say that," the Alton man remarked. "But the drugstores are going to do a great business tomorrow," he said, referring to the unpleasant weather.

The unofficial cheerleader of the ticket seekers was Norman L. Rosa, the assistant building superintendent for the Missouri Arena Corp. Rosa, who a year ago worked for the hockey team in Providence, R.I., dispensed free coffee and doughnuts throughout the day and to  everybody within hearing range that "these (St. Louisans) an the greatest fans in the world."

There were many stories circulating yesterday about these great sports fans. There was the man who held a place in line for a woman carrying an infant, so she could wait in her automobile until the line reached the ticket window. Then there is a story about a St. Louis fireman who had not slept since Saturday because after he got off duty he waited in line all day for four tickets. Another man lost a day's wages to stand in line, then purchased $100 worth of tickets.

But as the nun from Portland said, "When you get there (the ticket window), you're numb. The woman asked me how long I had been here, and I thought she meant St. Louis. I almost said a year and a half."