The St. Louis Blues are one of my favorite things in life, for better or worse. Scottrade Center has been like my second home since I was about 14 years old (many moons ago). As a transplanted fan living in Denver, my opportunities to attend games are obviously few and far between each season. I try to schedule my return visits to St. Louis around the hockey schedule. This particular trip home allowed me the fortuitous opportunity to see a game from a suite at the arena. A very generous friend whom I’ve known since we were kids scored the tickets for us and obviously I jumped at the chance.
I’ve been to well over 100 NHL games, mostly in St. Louis; maybe 15 at Pepsi Center in Denver and a small handful at Chicago’s United Center. While Scottrade’s auditorium is slightly less than what I’d call aesthetically pleasing, it’s still a decent facility for an event. The suites are nothing terribly luxurious (save for the owner’s box), but at the same time, I don’t need a gaudy sky box to enjoy some hockey.
By all accounts, as a blue collar guy that isn’t granted an opportunity like this often, I definitely dig the suite life. There is typically a decent spread of finger foods for guests, a fully stocked fridge of beer, soda and water, two flat screen televisions for the closed circuit in-house feed of the game and a private washroom. What’s more is that you’ll share the room with roughly ten other people. I felt very fortunate on this particular night that our fellow patrons were all genuine hockey fans sharing the same vested interest in the game. That’s part of the experience I despise while attending a game in the 21st century; people buried in their phones while wasting glass seats or club seats so they can text, call or take an obscene amount of selfies. None of that last night. At least not in our room.
Admittedly, it wasn’t particularly entertaining as the Blues dropped their third straight home decision to Vancouver 4-1. Despite the outcome, I had a fantastic time hanging out a suite for the first time. I never felt like I was better than anyone or looking down on people (figuratively speaking). It is my hope that any hockey fan has a chance to see a game from a suite at least once, though I certainly wouldn’t choose to do it every night. Eventually, I think the novelty would wear off. There is something to be said for the comeradery of strangers at a sporting event. When the Blues tied the game at one apiece in the second, after showing little signs of life, our whole room erupted to cheers, applause and high fives with people I had known for about an hour.
The people in our suite definitely contributed to my positive experience last evening. It was a fun, unique opportunity that unfortunately many fans will not have the pleasure of enjoying. I myself never considered a scenario where I would get to do it, but I wanted to offer a glimpse of what it was like for those of you that have not yet lived the suite life at an NHL game. As Ferris Bueller once said, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.”
Now, about that game last night…
Early scoring helps set the tone in any game; the Blues have now failed to score a first period goal in ten games.
That’s three straight home losses for the Blues. They have lost five of their last six overall.
I have to tell you I was thoroughly impressed with Zbynek Michalek following tonight’s loss. Here’s a guy that was dealt to a contender at the deadline, missed time because of an injury and is suddenly fielding the tough questions from the media. Jeremy Rutherford of the Post Dispatch tweeted this quote from Michalek last night:
I don’t think there’s one good thing about our game right now. We need to look in the mirror… It seems like everybody’s doing different things and isn’t on the same page and playing with one another.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds likes a proven veteran leader playing in the National Hockey League. There are a lot of questions with this team right now, perhaps searching for a new identity. Time isn’t particularly on their side as we creep closer to April 15th, the opening night of postseason play. If they are to right the ship heading into the playoffs, Zbynek Michalek will have to play a significant role in doing so.