Leslie Kluge had never traveled to watch the Blues play a game on the road, so when the opportunity presented itself, she couldn’t pass it up.
Several months ago, the Blues announced an Amtrak Train to the Game promotion through their monthly Season Ticket Holder e-mail newsletter. For $117 per person, fans could purchase a round-trip train ticket to Chicago and a ticket to the Blues / Blackhawks game on Feb. 19 at United Center.
Only 50 tickets were available, and the trip was sold out in less than three days.
Leslie and her husband, Bob, were some of the lucky fans that acted quickly and secured tickets to the trip.
“It just seemed like a great way to be with other Blues fans,” Bob said. “It’s a great chance to watch them on the road and get to see another side of the team.”
The Kluges set their alarm early Saturday morning and boarded the Amtrak train bound for downtown Chicago at 6:30 a.m. Together with nearly 50 other Blues fans, the group enjoyed a six-hour trip with trivia games, prize giveaways and more.
Former Blues defenseman Bob Plager even joined the trip.
“First of all, we’re big Blues fans and second of all, it was a trip out of town,” Leslie said. “We’ve never done it before. We’ve never seen any Blues games out of town.”
Their first trip to a road game will certainly be a memorable one: they’ll remember Andy McDonald
’s goal late in the first period of Sunday’s game. Unfortunately, they'll also remember that Chicago scored three times in the third period, but for fans on the trip, that's beside the point.
For them, the experience made it all worthwhile.
“It’s an opportunity everyone should take,” said Tony Pecoraro, who travels to several road games per season but was participating in his first Amtrak trip to Chicago. “If you’re a Blues fan and you like to go out of town, this is a trip you should get on to. I would definitely recommend it to anybody.”
After the game, the group boarded a 5:15 p.m. train back to St. Louis on Sunday night.
The event marked the second consecutive year for the Blues and Amtrak Train to the Game partnership.
“I think with a trip like this, with people that have a similiar affection for their sports team, what a great way to see them play and root them on,” said Anne McGinnis, a Sales and Marketing Associate for Amtrak. “It’s a great way to travel for people, and I just think fans have a great time.
“This is one of the perks of my job, working with a group like this, taking them from St. Louis to Chicago to see a Blues / Blackhawks game.”
“It’s a blast what the Blues do,” said Kris Kachadorian, who was on the trip with his wife, Wendi. “The train ride up is definitely the best part.
"But it’s the experience that makes it fun.”