by Alex Poletti
After a thrilling game seven win against the Dallas Stars in Round Two of the NHL playoffs, citizens of St. Louis are discovering they have more than one professional sports franchise in operation.
“Studies conducted by faculty and graduate students have shown that before this win, the average member of the community had no idea what the Blues were,” professor Richard Poor of Washington University says.
For years, after the Rams moved to Los Angeles, public opinion in the Gateway to the West was that the Cardinals were the only active sports team in the city. Now that people realize the Blues are a hockey team, some of their perceptions have changed.
“I asked a neighbor of mine a couple of years back what he was going to do that night,” St. Louis resident Thomas Barkley recalls. “He told me he was going to watch the Blues play. I thought he was just communicating his depression in an poetic way.”
Not only are people surprised that a second team exists, but they are surprised that, of all sports, it’s hockey that has a presence in the Show Me State.
“You’re telling me they play hockey down here?” disgruntled St. Louisan Rebecca Smith says. “How the hell are they getting all that ice here in the swamp?”
Although it’s a nice boost of confidence for the hockey team that they are now recognized, the WashU studies tend to suggest that the advertising campaigns by the Blues organization have not been working.
“We have posters all over the city, and no one knew about our team?” Blues CEO Chris Zimmerman says. “Well I’ll tell you this much, Jeremy in marketing is definitely getting fired today.”
The findings in these studies could prove revolutionary for future sporting ventures in the city.
“What is really crazy about these results is that people watch sports teams when they do well,” Poor explains. “The idea that teams become more popular when they win is new for St. Louis. We’ve been applying the opposite theory for decades.”
The Blues, founded in 1967, are the oldest active NHL team to have never won the Stanley Cup, despite making it three times in ‘68, ‘69 and ‘70. Next up, St. Louis battles the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals.
“We’d love to win,” coach Craig Berube says, “but honestly we miss the privacy that came with being a completely unknown organization. I guess you only know the good stuff when it’s gone.”