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Blues tour library exhibit celebrating 50 years

St. Louis Public Library will host free exhibit through March 4

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - For the first-time ever (and for a limited time only), hockey fans will be able to view 50 years of St. Louis Blues memorabilia and archives at the St. Louis Public Library at 1301 Olive Street in downtown St. Louis.

"50 Years of Blood, Sweat and Cheers - A Tribute to the St. Louis Blues and their Fans" will open on Monday, Dec. 5 at the Central Library. The exhibit, which is presented by St. Louis Public Library, is made possible through the support of presenting sponsor Enterprise Rent-A-Car and media partner the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It will remain open through March 4.

The exhibit includes the original boards from the Old Arena on Oakland Avenue, the original prototype St. Louis Blues jersey, an amazing Glenn Hall statue replica, season ticket holder holiday cards from the Salomons - the original owners of the team - and game-used sticks, jerseys and even many items loaned and donated from the personal collections of Blues fans.

"The depth of the tradition, the longevity of the franchise, the quirky little details of the some of the items produced over the years: everything from various programs to a Keith Tkachuk lunchbox. It's quite an array," said Blues Chairman Tom Stillman. "It's probably the tip of the iceberg for what's really back in the various closets and cabinets in a lot of fans' homes. It speaks to our passionate fan base."

"This is a really special place," added Blues President & CEO Chris Zimmerman. "What an amazing building the Central Library is! We feel incredibly blessed that they've embraced this project, the opportunity to help tell our story, and I think one of the great things is just getting a lot of people here who don't know what a fantastic library system we have, and what a great building we have here to house it."

"50 Years of Blood, Sweat and Cheers" is free to all visitors and no library card is required. The exhibit is located in the Great Hall on the main level and the Carnegie Room on the third floor.

Video: Blues exhibit at St. Louis Public Library opens

The St. Louis Public Library is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

"My favorite thing is the old skates that are blue and yellow," said Blues forward David Perron, who intends to bring his family to the exhibit soon. "It's really nice to see some of the old stuff, the jerseys and the material the way it is. There are a lot of great fans in St. Louis, and over the years they've gathered a lot of things. I can think of a few fans I know that would have some really cool things to see. It's great to see their (contributions)."

The exhibit is also expected to evolve. More memorabilia, personal stories from fans and personalities, the Blues' impact on youth hockey in the area and even items celebrating the NHL's Centennial Celebration will become part of the exhibit at a later date.

Following the closure of the exhibit in March, Central Library will become the official archival home of the St. Louis Blues. Under the new partnership, the St. Louis Public Library will archive all team items such as printed materials, photos, programs, rosters, contracts and records, as well as team-issued jerseys, pucks and sticks.

"This is really, really rewarding to come here and really see our history come to life, to see so many pieces of memorabilia that our fans have donated to this project and that really tell the story of the St. Louis Blues," Zimmerman said. "I think it's a real tribute to so many of the people that have built this organization and the fans who have made up this organization. I just hope a lot of people get here and get the opportunity to experience it."

For more information, visit SLPL.org.

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