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A dream that never existed

St. Louis native Chris Butler encourages players to dream big in letter announcing retirement

by Chris Butler / St. Louis Blues

I was born October 27, 1986 in Kirkwood, Missouri…not exactly a hockey hotbed, yet!

But I was lucky from the day I was born.

My father, Doug, had migrated to St. Louis from Souris, Manitoba to play college hockey at Saint Louis University in 1975 and there he would meet my mother, Martha, a field hockey player. To say hockey is in my blood is an understatement.

Now, we didn't have season tickets to the Blues growing up but my dad would take me to a game every year around my birthday and I was hooked. I remember my dad letting me stay up late after hockey practices a couple times per week to watch NHL 2Night on ESPN. Hell, we even had to get a special box from the cable company to get half - just half! - of the Blues games on TV, and this is when I got hooked!

I fell in love with the game of hockey watching the likes of Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger.

Now I could go on and on about my favorite player or Blues moments growing up but on June 12, 2019 I got to live the greatest moment in Blues history.

I could say the last five years being a member of the Blues organization was a dream come true but that would be a lie. It was a dream that never existed for me. Growing up in St Louis, as a hockey player, my dream was to someday be able to get a college scholarship and help my parents by paying for my education, that was it.

As I fast forward to free agency, I was hoping for a multi-year deal that never materialized. I spoke with Doug Armstrong and the last five years have been a blur. From lifting the Stanley Cup, to holding it for Bobby Plager as he drank a beer from it on the flight home, to the parade and partying with the entire city of St Louis, it was a hell of a way to cap my career off! And then going back to the arena where I watched hockey games growing up and playing for the team that made me fall in love with the game of hockey still doesn't seem real, and I hope that it never does.

But I do have one hope, that my journey can inspire the next generation of young hockey players to say the hell with settling for just college hockey... My dream is to play for the Blues and win another Stanley Cup!

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