The rafters at Enterprise Center have gained what St. Louis hockey fans have long sought — a Stanley Cup championship banner.
In a ceremony prior to Wednesday night’s season opener, St. Louis Blues fans roared as the team raised the banner before a capacity crowd.
The ceremony began with narrated videos containing highlights of the hockey team’s historic run last season. Many of the videos featured players hoisting the Cup during the postgame ceremony in Boston after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, at the championship parade down Market Street and individually, when each player had a day to spend with the trophy.
In a darkened arena and with a dramatic puff of dry ice smoke, the banner began its slow ascent accompanied by the familiarity of “Gloria,” the song that became last season’s anthem.
“Blues fans, as the banner rises to its final place in the rafters, let us forever remember the team that made history, your St. Louis Blues,” proclaimed public address announcer Tom Calhoun.
The Blues captured their first-ever NHL championship in June after defeating the Boston Bruins in a winner-take-all seventh game. It took 51 seasons for the Blues to accomplish the feat, becoming the last of the 1967 expansion teams to do so.
The Blues ranked lowest in the NHL standings as late as Jan. 2 and became the first team in the expansion era to win the Stanley Cup after ranking so low after the 30th game of the season.
Only eight NHL teams remain that have never won the Cup.
Wednesday night's matchup pitted the Blues against the Washington Capitals, the winner of the Stanley Cup in 2018. The contest marked the fifth time in NHL history that the reigning Stanley Cup champions have played the preceding Cup champions in a season-opening matchup. The last time it occurred was in 1962, when the Toronto Maple Leafs faced the Chicago Blackhawks.
Fans without tickets were able to watch the pregame ceremony and game on a large video screen outside Enterprise Center on 14th Street.
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