Prior to the March 7 game vs. Columbus, the Blues celebrated the careers of four of the greatest players to wear No. 7: Gordon "Red" Berenson, Garry Unger, Joe Mullen and Keith Tkachuk.
Each player made significant contributions to the team and community while wearing the Blue Note, and each of them had kind words for the city and its fans.
Below are transcripts of the speeches given during a pregame ceremony outside Scottrade Center before the March 7 game.Red Berenson
Well thank you very much. The announcer (in that highlight video) was John Kelly’s dad, Dan Kelly. And in those days, for those of you who followed the Blues in the late 60s when they first came to St. Louis, it was something special.
I hope this (special feeling) happens again to the city, because right now there are a bunch of hockey players that are really trying to prove themselves and some older players that are trying to hang on and play in St. Louis.
The fans were so good, and I don’t know what it was about our team. Maybe it was the body checks of Bob Plager, maybe it was the great goalkeeping of Glenn Hall or maybe it was Al Arbrour wearing glasses while blocking Bobby Hull’s shots.
But every player on our team seemed to be special. Remember the night in\ triple overtime when Ron Shock scored that goal against Pittsburgh? It just goes on and on.
All the great players that have played in St. Louis; they just loved it here.
I feel the same way every time I come back. The memories come back, but it wasn’t so much about any one player. It was about the team. The team had success and it was about the fans. The fans were terrific. So thanks for showing up and let’s support the Blues. Garry Unger
What a great opportunity it was for me as a young kid coming into a new community. I was traded for the icon of the community, Red Berenson. Two years later Red came back and played with me, and I had the honor of playing with him.
We came in here as kids from Massachusetts, from New York, from Saskatchewan, from all over the world and you took us in. It was amazing.
I got married here, my kids were born here. My heart jumps every time I hear the word St. Louis.
You know when we start off as kids, we were playing a little bit out in the field; we were playing ice hockey outside. To get an opportunity to go a little bit further, we get a little bit of passion for the game and also need an opportunity to play and St. Louis gave us an opportunity to play.
I got married while I was here to my wife Beverly and two of my kids, Kim and Jamie, were both born here. My other daughter was born in Edmonton.
I tried to grow up here, I’m still working on it, but it was an unbelievable time of my life. The passion for the game, the guys that I got to play with...
But I remember the time coming out of the tunnel. The first time that I ever came into St. Louis in the old Arena, and the coach had to give our game plan for the first two periods because you couldn’t hear on the bench.
If you happened to score a goal, it was pandemonium. You could hear (the crowd) as far as you could hear Dan Kelly on KMOX in Saskatchewan. It was unbelievably loud.
We had an opportunity to go to the second round of the playoffs when we played in Minnesota in 71, we won in overtime the seventh game and came back.
Actually on the trip we were flying to the game and some of us were going to drive. You guys are flying on jets and everything now. We were going to drive, but we couldn’t get all the stuff in the cars so we had to take a plane.
We went to the game, we flew back after the game, we got back to the airport at four o’clock in the morning and there were 10,000 people at the airport waiting for us.
The real big thing about the game is the friendships that you make over time.
You allowed me to come into your community, to be a part of that, and to be a part of that legacy.
I thank the Blues… I thank all the people that were involved with this. I've got to mention Larry Patey and Bruce Affleck and those types of guys that are still friends of mine.
But a thank you very much for the memories for me and thanks for remembering. I appreciate it. Joe Mullen
First of all I would like to thank the St. Louis Blues organization for having me back, and having this night for us. It’s really an honor to be here and I really appreciate it.
It’s also an honor to be included with such a great group of guys here, great hockey players, and I’m very honored to be here with you guys, too.
I did get my start here in St. Louis; it was many firsts for me. I’d love to thank Emile Francis for giving me the opportunity and taking that chance on a kid from New York City.
So thanks to him and all his great staff that he had with him like Bobby Plager, and all the great teammates I had throughout the years here.
I enjoyed my time immensely here and although it was a little short, it was out of my hands at that time. But I did really enjoy it, I enjoyed the fans.
When I was here we were probably averaging about 12,500 fans, but I tell you they were so loud in that building it made it seem like there were 20,000 and every night was special in that building for me.
So thank you, thank you for coming, and once again thanks to the Blues. Keith Tkachuk
I was going to say it feels great to be back here, but obviously I haven’t left yet.
But I just want to say what an honor it is to be in the same breath as the gentlemen behind me. Red, Garry, and of course Joe, the first American born player to score 500 goals, which is incredible.
And thank you for letting me be a part of this guys. Obviously, I would like to thank the Blues organization. I know Dave Checketts couldn’t be here but Mike McCarthy, Tom Stillman and the Blues management and obviously a guy like Larry Pleau, who brought me here to St. Louis.
Brought me, traded me, brought me again…. It was a real up and down relationship for awhile but we’re pretty solid.
And obviously (John Davidson) for his support over the years and the new general manager Doug Armstrong (for they do a great job here) and the St. Louis Blues players who I miss dearly… half of them I don’t even recognize this year because they're trading everyone away.
Obviously the players, the coaches, and the trainers and everyone involved in the St. Louis Blues hockey. I miss it big time.
I know I made the right decision, but I wish them all the best. And obviously my family was here today, and the important part of hockey, the community and all you fans that are here tonight. And for supporting my family and I for ten years both on and off the ice... that’s why we love living here so much.
I know you guys love the Blues. I love the Blues and we have to get back here to the winning ways and bring back the Stanley Cup here for once and for all.