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Annual Rink Tour is Another Success

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Andy McDonald poses for a photo with a young fan on Sunday, Jan. 3 as part of the team's annual rink tour event.

Video: Highlights from Blues Rink Tours
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Scott and Nick Rakonick went to the Ice Zone at St. Louis Mills on Sunday for a little father/son bonding and left with more memories than they anticipated.

After skating on the ice for the open public session, 10-year-old Nick was all smiles after meeting Blues forwards Andy McDonald and Jay McClement.

Both players were there as part of the team’s annual Rink Tour event, which took place at nine rinks around the St. Louis metro area on Sunday. Presented this year by Verizon Wireless and Dairy Queen, each rink featured at least two players from the team to sign autographs, pose for pictures and mingle with fans.

“It’s good (to be out here),” said McClement. “The way we’ve been going lately, it’s pretty amazing to see the support we’re still getting. It’s kind of a motivator for us, to know to keep putting the work in and knowing people are behind us.”

More than 200 people turned out for autographs at St. Louis Mills, while early reports suggest hundreds more showed up at each of the other rinks.

Tom Dempski brought his sons Adam, 10, and Luke, 7, to the Rink Tours on Sunday.

“It was a good feeling because I haven’t gotten their autographs and I’d never really seen them up close before,” Adam said. “I’m a really huge Blues fan and (have been) since my dad got me into it when I was really really young.”

McDonald said he was thrilled to see the support from the fans.

“There’s been a lot of people here and fans in St. Louis are passionate about their sports teams, especially the Blues,” he said. “The fans are coming out and the team really appreciates that.

“Especially the kids, you see their eyes light up when they get a chance to meet a player up close, so it’s a lot of fun for us to be able to come out and interact.”

Among the rinks visited were the Hardee's IcePlex, Lindenwood, U.S. Ice Sports Complex, Affton, East Alton, Fenton and Granite City.
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