ST. LOUIS - When the team’s plane landed in St. Louis on Sunday night, another Blues Dads’ Trip was in the books. Players say they drew a lot of motivation and inspiration from having their dads on the trip and it showed on the ice: in the last two seasons, the Blues are 5-0 with their dads in the building.
Like last year, the trip delivered plenty of memorable moments: Bill Elliott taking over the camera in the first period for FOX Sports Midwest to broadcast part of the game is a highlight, as was the triumphant return of Jaden Schwartz while his dad beamed with pride from the seats at BB&T Center.
“This (trip) was awesome,” said Bob Edmundson, who was joining the Dads’ Trip for the first time. “When Joel gave me the call, you couldn’t keep me from smiling. It’s been a thrill.”
“I just want to say thank you,” said Len Fabbri. “First class all the way, just a first-class organization. We’re very proud to be part of (the Blues) and Robby is, too. They’re just the best.”
Here are five things we learned on this year’s Dads’ Trip:
1. Robby Fabbri and Joel Edmundson are better hockey players than they are fishermen.
Blues rookies Robby Fabbri and Joel Edmundson went fishing during an off-day in Tampa Bay with their dads, and the only one on the boat to catch anything was Len Fabbri. They joined Steve Ott, Robert Bortuzzo, Carl Gunnarsson, Brian Elliott and their dads, who also were on the water competing with each other in a mini finishing tournament.
“It looked like 'Otter' and 'Borts' had the good boat ‘cause they caught all the fish,” Robby said. “We pretty much just paid for a boat.”
2. Alexander Steen was heartbroken when his beloved Jets relocated in 1995.
In a very personal video showing the bond between Steen and his father, Thomas, we see an 11-year-old Alexander with tears streaming down his face as his dad’s jersey is retired by the Jets on the same day the franchise said goodbye to the city of Winnipeg.
“He said ‘we have enough money, don’t we? Why don’t we buy the team?’” Thomas recalls in the video.
“I didn’t have much comprehension for how much money that was," Alexander added. "I was so upset and I just wanted them to stay in every possible way."
Thomas Steen is one of the most beloved Jets of all-time and spent his entire NHL career in Winnipeg, posting 264 goals and 553 assists (817 points) in 950 career games.
If you haven't seen the video, click here. You'll be glad you did - perhaps almost as glad as the Steens were when the Jets returned.
3. We’re happy our hotel room wasn’t next to Joe and Alex Pietrangelo’s room.
Alex Pietrangelo, who joined the team for the morning skate in Tampa Bay on Sunday, tweeted a photo with his dad that illustrated how he can't wait to have his own room again.
"One more night of snoring," Pietrangelo tweeted on Saturday. His tweet also included "#NasalStrips," which we're pretty sure is an organization-first.
Bummer, Alex. Nights were nice and quiet on the 10th floor.
4. Carl Gunnarsson talks with his dad after every game.
Bjoern Gunnarsson might be one of the most committed hockey dads ever. Despite living in Sweden and working daily as a construction worker for 40 years (that’s hard work!), Bjoern sets an alarm around 3 a.m. to wake up and watch Carl’s games.
“I’ve followed him from the beginning, from when he was a little guy to where he is now,” Bjoern said. “It’s my duty to do that and I like to support him. After the game, we always send a text to each other to talk about the game, just about the small things.”
Jori Lehtera’s dad has a similar story, and you can read more about both of them by clicking here.
5. Cameras that shoot 360-degrees are AWESOME!
Many of the great images you viewed here at stlouisblues.com and on social media this weekend are the result of the great work from Blues photographer Scott Rovak, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. We were lucky enough to bring Scott along on this year's Dads' Trip.
On Saturday, Scott brought a camera to the rink that was capable of taking a 360-degree image - and the results were amazing. You can also view some of our favorite photos from the four-day trip.
Fathers & Sons in 360° #stlblues #dadstrip - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA