ST. LOUIS - In the Heartland of Hockey, introducing the game to kids of all ages is a top priority. But for the Blues, the initiative goes beyond free hockey clinics and hosting tournaments - it's about making sure kids have the chance to succeed long after walking out the doors of Scottrade Center.
That's why Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo and his staff hosted a coaching symposium for local youth hockey coaches Saturday.
Forty coaches from different youth organizations participated in the event, where they got to see first-hand how a professional practice is run, and later heard from several members of the Blues coaching staff, who each taught lessons on their areas of expertise.
"If they start with bad habits at a young age, then they just compound over time and they aren't efficient players," said Blues Goaltending Coach David Alexander. "So getting quality coaching at a young age is imperative."
While coaches of different levels and age groups participated, local Pee Wee coach David Nappier said the insights given throughout the symposium were useful to take back to players of all ages.
"It's nice, because one [person] asked what players lack when they get to [the professional] level," Nappier said. "That's insightful, because it's nice to be able to take that back to our kids, so we can bring them up in the right system. For instance, backhand passing. If that's something they're bad with at [the professional] level, then that's something we probably should be working on with the little guys."
"It's part of the job," Alexander said. "You have to give back. But it's more than that… we want to give back and share our wisdom."
The Blues will conclude the Weekend of Hockey with Pee Wee championship games at Scottrade following Sunday's preseason game vs. the Washington Capitals.