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|Al MacInnis and his family watch as a statue of MacInnis is unveiled before the team's home opener at Scottrade Center on Oct. 8, 2009 (Photo by Mark Buckner).
What could one possibly give a retired hockey player who already has a Stanley Cup, a Gold Medal, a Norris Trophy, a Conn Smythe Trophy and his retired number hanging from the rafters?
How about a big bronze statue?
Before Thursday’s home opener at Scottrade Center, the Blues unveiled a new statue in honor of Blues defenseman Al MacInnis, who played 10 seasons with the Blues, amassing 452 points (127 goals, 325 assists) in 613 games. The statue is located near the intersection of 14th Street and Clark Avenue, just outside Scottrade Center’s main entrance.
“Some awards, like the Norris Trophy and the Stanley Cup, are awarded every year. Not often do you get a statue," MacInnis said. "It's something you put right alongside a retired number in a special category.”
The statue was created by Jack Nortz of MTM Recognition. MacInnis met with Nortz to discuss the project and pose in full uniform to take photos from all angles. Nortz created a 1/4 scale sculpture before beginning work on the actual sculpture, which took nearly three months to complete.
"Very rarely does the sculptor get to meet the subject of his work and for me to meet Al face-to-face was definitely a highlight," Nortz said.
MacInnis ranks third all-time among NHL defenseman in points (1,274). Over a career that spanned 23 NHL seasons, he recorded 340 goals and 934 assists. MacInnis won the league’s hardest shot competition seven times and was a 13-team NHL All-Star. He also captured a Gold Medal with Team Canada at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
"Al was one of the most beloved players to ever wear the BlueNote and is certainly deserving of having a life-sized bronze sculpted in his honor," said Peter McLoughlin, CEO of St. Louis Blues Enterprises. "We want this to be a monument that the city of St. Louis and Blues fans can enjoy year round."
The Blues previously created a statue for Hall of Famer Bernie Federko. That statue has been moved outside to join the MacInnis sculpture.
“Obviously, the statue and retired number are exceptionally special to me and my family, because those things are going to be there for a long, long time,” MacInnis said. "My kids will remember it, as will hockey fans in general, even long after I'm gone."