ST. LOUIS - Bryce Salvador began an impressive 14-year NHL career with more than six seasons as a Blue from 2000 until 2008. The hard-working defenseman, known for his never-quit attitude, accumulated 66 points during his time with St. Louis and scored a game-winning overtime goal against the San Jose Sharks to give the Blues a series lead in the 2001 Western Conference quarterfinals.
Salvador also made an impact on the St. Louis community off the ice by creating a program with former teammate Jamal Mayers, which recognized kids who performed acts of kindness and generosity.
The defenseman retired as the captain of the New Jersey Devils in 2015 due to injury, but Blues fans will see him on the ice again for the Winter Classic Alumni Game on Dec. 31.
We caught up with him recently to find out what brought him back to St. Louis and what life has been like since hanging up the skates.
BLUES: It's good to see you back at Scottrade Center for a game. What brings you back to St. Louis?
SALVADOR: My oldest son actually happens to be playing a role in a Broadway tour that's traveling, and it's at the Fox Theater this week. It's called Fun Home and he plays one of the older brothers in the play. This is his first big role, but he's been trying to go down this path for about two years now, so it's been a lot of hard work. And it worked out well, because I got to bring my youngest son to some games and catch up with some old teammates and friends.
BLUES: Your career ended earlier than you anticipated due to injury, which couldn't be easy. Looking back, do you feel like you had a chance to leave your mark in the League?
SALVADOR: I always looked it like every game I played in the NHL was just a blessing. Growing up, I never actually thought I would be in the NHL. It's something you only aspire to do. So to be able to play as long as I did and retire a captain of an NHL team… I was just excited to be able to experience that. I never really looked at is as leaving a mark, but just as an amazing experience to have played as long as I did.
BLUES: What does life after hockey entail for you?
SALVADOR: It's very busy! I'm more actively involved with the youth hockey market in New Jersey. I also have a company called X Hockey Products, where I work on building the game with training aids, camps and various different things to grow the game from a grass roots level. Right now I'm also spending a lot of time with my 7-year-old coaching.
BLUES: What's it like to have the opportunity to coach your youngest son?
SALVADOR: It's been a great experience. It's nice to be able to spend time and be part of his hockey career. Also, it gives me a chance to see if I really like that: see if I like to train, see if I like to coach, see if I like to be involved with some of that. I just figured hey, he's 7 years old… let's just start and see where it goes!
BLUES: You'll be back next month for the Winter Classic Alumni Game. How much do you look forward to wearing the Blue Note again?
SALVADOR: I'm really looking forward to it. It's really going to be such an honor to be back and playing with such great guys. You know, the Hall of Famers…what a lineup! To be one of the players there is a huge honor.