ST. LOUIS - Sid Salomon Jr. and his son, Sid Salomon III can be credited for making NHL hockey in St. Louis a reality back way back in 1967.
In celebrating the 50th anniversary of the franchise, the Blues will welcome Carol Salomon (wife of Sid Salomon III) and her children Sid IV, Patti and Tim, for a pregame puck drop before Saturday's 7 p.m. game against the New York Rangers.
For more background on the Salomons involvement in the birth of the Blues, check out the excerpt below from Note By Note, which was published in 2002.
But with the NHL expanding - no, exploding - from six to 12 teams in 1967, Sid III knew this was a rare chance at The Big Time. C'mon, Dad!
Sid. Jr. loved the glow of Sid III when he pushed the notion of the NHL in St. Louis. And the kid pushed often. Sid Jr. wasn't sure any of it made sense - The Arena was a wreck, start-up costs would be massive (the NHL salary alone was $16,360 per player) and the clamor for NHL hockey in St. Louis wasn't quite an official clamor. But, when Sid III was working on his dad and his dream, his spirits were high during a time that could have easily been hell. Sid Jr. noticed. Following the calling of a father rather than a businessman, Sid Jr. asked for the application, submitted a non-refundable $10,000 check to the league and began cobbling together a syndicate to put St. Louis' best skate forward…
Video: Original Blues reflect on playing for the Salomons
…The Salomons and their company entered the ballroom to make their presentation to the NHL delegation. The decision came hours later. A rival Chicago syndicate that would have operated a team in St. Louis was not taken seriously. Baltimore, which stood ready in the event St. Louis fell through, was left at the doorstep. By unanimous vote, the Salomons and St. Louis has the Blues.
Sid Jr. would be chairman and president, his son, Sid III, the executive VP and NHL governor. James Cullen would serve as secretary and general counsel while Robert Wolfson held the post of vice present and treasurer. These were the founding fathers of the St. Louis Blues.
Opening Night would come on October 11, 1967 at The Arena vs. the Minnesota North Stars. The Blues' coming-out party was an ostentatious affair, emceed by Jack Buck and featuring appearances by radio and television star Arthur Godfrey, figure skater Aja Zanova, singer Anna Maria Alberghetti and big band leader Guy Lombardo … backed, as always, by his Royal Canadians ensemble. NHL president Clarence Campbell dropped the ceremonial puck as players in home blue and visiting green fidgeted. It would be 9:20 p.m. before 11,339 St. Louisans would finally be able to judge whether all the fuss of bringing the NHL to their hometown was worth it.
A goal by Blues right winger Wayne Rivers with one minute, 26 seconds remaining in the game rescued a nondescript contest and the Blues, who would skate off with a 2-2 draw vs. Minnesota. As debuts go, it was at least a safe one. The Arena itself was a showpiece, its glorious new decor practically imposing the clientele to dress accordingly thereafter. And the Salomons were the toast of ta town, not just for a night, but for an era.
The Birth of the Blues had become a reality.