BOSTON – This is for you.
This is for St. Louis, the city whose team won the Stanley Cup, a sentence that seemed unfathomable as 2019 began – and now, 2019 will be forever remembered as the year of the first championship.
This is for, of course, the players and coaches and executives and everyone who contributed to this year's Blues. But we know darn well it's for more folks than just that.
This is for whoever taught you to love the Blues.
This is for whoever you taught to love the Blues.
This is for Bobby Plager.
This is for the original Blues, those strangers who skated into our lives and established a culture.
This is for Tom Stillman … and every other St. Louisan who feels as if he or she owns a piece of the team.
This is for living statues who walk our streets – Federko, MacInnis and Hull. And Oates. And Chris Pronger and Brendan Shanahan. And Mike Shanahan and Ron Caron. And Twister and Chaser.
This is for all the men who wore the “C.”
This is even for, in a weird way, David Backes.
This is for Garry Unger and Joey Mullen and Wayne Babych and even Wayne Gretzky. And Red and Walt and CuJo and Liuuuuuuuut.
This is for the fans who flew from St. Louis to Boston, to cheer here and witness this. And feel this.
This is for the fans who allow the Blues to determine their moods, to sway their emotions, to make them full. This is for the fans who root for the St. Louis part more than the Blues part. This is for the fan who couldn't tell you the difference between a forecheck and a poke-check, but just enjoys the speed and the spirit of the games.
This is for every worker who has spent part of his or her paycheck on a ticket to see the Blues.
This is for Bob Gassoff and Pavol Demitra.
This is for Dan Kelly, the broadcaster who taught us the intricacies of this sport with his golden voice.
This is for Norm Kramer, the first Blues organist who wore those shiny jackets, and for Jeremy Boyer, the current Blues organist who can play “Hallelujah” at churches – and now can at Enterprise Center.
This is for the fan who had a crew cut and then shaggy long hair and then a shorter combed-across cut and then a mullet and then thinning hair and now no hair – and never saw the Blues win the Cup until now.
This is for the Sutters and the Plagers and the Cavallinis and all the St. Louis brothers who dreamed, while playing in local rinks or driveways or streets, that they someday could be like the Sutters or the Plagers or the Cavallinis.
This is those Blues who gave us the greatest of goals, be it Ron Schock and Mike Crombeen or Doug Wickenheiser and Troy Brouwer.
This is for the memories of the Arena that waft in our minds like the smoke used to waft in the rafters there, on Oakland Avenue, where so many of you all grew up.
This is for the Towel Man up in Section 314.
This is for Ken Wilson of “Oh Baby!” And for Charles Glenn of “O'er the ramparts.”
This is for everyone who knew Pat Maroon growing up and every kid growing up who now wants to be Pat Maroon.
This is for Laila. And Ari.
This is for the Blues alumni who came and never left. From Mike Zuke and Perry Turnbull of previous generations to Jeff Brown and the fellows today, these men have passed their hockey knowledge down to the St. Louis sons and daughters – theirs and their neighbors – making this Midwest town the heartland of hockey, which continues to grow with each winter. As newly minted champion Jay Bouwmeester said, “Hockey is more ingrained in the community, because a lot of people who played here stayed here.”
This is for my friend who just turned 40 and is married with a daughter and is the most “grown-up” of all my friends – and he once shared that if the Blues ever win the Stanley Cup, he'd be “the drunkest guy at the parade,” which makes you wonder about how everyone else will behave.
This is for the bars and barcaloungers and barbecues where the Blues fans gather and unite for a bite and Bud Light.
This is for the community that's laced together like hockey skates.
This is for the babies just born – such as MacKenzie Gloria Marie Kovarik, with her middle name inspired by the song. Babies who have no idea what they were born into – a world where the Blues are champions, where the Blues are the envy of the National Hockey League. They're born into a world that their parents or grandparents could not relate to, because the St. Louis Blues, for generations, have often been a good team but never the best team.
And now, St. Louis' Blues are the Stanley Cup champions.