The St. Louis Blues first franchise Stanley Cup victory is not lost on Peoria Rivermen Chief Operating Officer Bart Rogers.
The Rivermen enjoyed a 30-year affiliation with the Blues that came to an unceremonious end in 2013. The affiliation included Rivermen tenures in the International Hockey League, ECHL and AHL.
The Rivermen won IHL Turner Cup championships in 1985 and 1991 and an ECHL championship in 2000, all while affilated with the St. Louis Blues.
And despite the affiliation exists no longer there is still some history attached to the current Blues team.
“There are four players who were on the ice who were players here in Peoria with the Rivermen and will have their name on the Cup,” Rogers said. (Alex Pietrangelo (pictured), Jordan Binnington, Jaden Schwartz, Jake Allen)
“Our equipment manager, Joel Farnsworth, is now the head equipment manager with the Blues and will have his name on it. Also, our general manager when we were affiliated with the Blues, Kevin McDonald, he is still with the organization and oversees the Triple-A team in San Antonio and he got to celebrate as well,” Rogers said.
Former Blues Player and Rivermen head coach Bob Plager could be seen hoisting the Stanley Cup during the team’s on-ice celebration after it’s clinching win in Boston Wednesday.
The Blues Stanley Cup win is also special for Rogers, who started his hockey career in 1992 as director of merchandise for the Rivermen, during the team’s affliation with the Blues.
“I was a big Blues fan all my life and a big Rivermen fan first and foremost,” Rogers said, “knowing that the Blues had that huge relationship with Peoria.”
Rogers says a Blues Stanley Cup victory is huge for Peoria.
“I’m not a dummy to say it doesn’t have any effect. Because you see through Facebook and social media all the fans that are our avid fans still in Peoria that still have the affinity with the Blues and for that history,” Rogers said.
Despite the fact the Rivermen now have a business relationship with the Chicago Blackhawks, Rogers continues to work with the Hockey Hall of Fame to get a Stanley Cup appearance at a Rivermen game.
“We’ve been working with Quad City even before the Blues won the Cup to see if we can partner where (the Cup) can be here one night and one time in the Quad Cities,” Rogers said. “That’s not a decision made by the Blues, it’s made by the Hockey Hall of Fame.”
The Rivermen and Quad City Storm are currently rivals in the SPHL.