More than 8,500 fans turned out to Scottrade Center on Saturday, but the puck didn't drop on an actual game until Sunday.
Fans packed the arena at 14th & Clark to get a glimpse of their 2007-08 St. Louis Blues. For most of them, it was the first opportunity to see all-star Paul Kariya and 2006 No. 1 draft pick Erik Johnson wearing a Bluenote.
As an added bonus, fans were able to participate in games and activities on the concourse, including slap shot competitions, jousts and bungee runs. Throughout the day, Blues players were visible in the concourse, greeting fans, signing autographs and simply talking hockey.
If Saturday’s turnout was any indication, the Blues are back.
"The buzz is there, the spirit is there. People believe in us," said Blues President John Davidson. "It's all about interaction, it's about getting the fans back one at a time and we're achieving that. (FANfest) was a wonderful success and the fans seemed to have a great time, and that's what this is about."
The Scottrade Center doors were open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fans received free hot dogs, soda and popcorn at the concession stands all day long. Blues players and alumni were in the box office selling tickets to fans as well. Saturday was the first day single game tickets were available to the general public.
In fact, it was the best single sales day in Blues history.
“FANfest was a dynamic event that exceeded everyone's expectations," said Dave Bullock, the Blues' Senior Vice President of Consumer Sales and Marketing. "Fans got an incredible opportunity to see that the St. Louis Blues organization will do whatever it takes to get them back."
In perhaps the closest thing to game action since April, fans were treated to a game between Team Plager and Team Sutter
on Saturday. Fans stood for a shootout, where Kariya scored and Johnson shattered a water bottle with his shot.
"I didn't try to break it," Johnson said. "I just tried to score. I just kinda faked one way and went top shelf. The water bottle just topped it off."
“Kudos to the Blues organization for a great event,” said Blues fan Brian Johnson, who has no relation to the Blues' Erik, Ryan or Mike. “My family and I were there for 6.5 hours and had a blast.”
Season ticket holders were given access to the mezzanine level for exclusive autographs sessions and an hour-long Q&A session with Blues head coach Andy Murray.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Blues officially unveiled their new uniforms
to the public before the 11:30 game.
"It was kind of cool to see people walk around with your own jersey on," Erik Johnson added. "It's fun to see that the fans are positive about the season. That's what we want to hear."