ST. LOUIS -- In a 50th anniversary season that has already included hosting the 2017 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, the St. Louis Blues are in the spotlight once again.
The NHL Centennial Fan Arena is spending the weekend in downtown St. Louis in front of the Central Library, just blocks away from Scottrade Center.
The interactive traveling fan experience is visiting all NHL markets across North America in 2017. It's part of the NHL's Centennial Celebration festivities, honoring a century's worth of extraordinary players, teams, remarkable plays and unforgettable moments. The exhibit runs from Friday through Sunday and features an appearance by the Stanley Cup on Saturday.
It's free of charge and open to fans of all ages, including Joy Wethers of St. Charles, Missouri, who along with her sons Ben, 5, and Adam, 3, were among the first fans enjoy the experience.
"I've been a lifelong Blues fan, and when this came to light, the boys were excited when I told them I was going to bring them here," Wethers said. "I took a picture of them together inside where the [Alex] Pietrangelo and [Vladimir] Tarasenko locker section was, and they were smiling from ear to ear. This is wonderful what they've done here and something that, while they may not know how much it means now, I'll show them the pictures when they're older so they can get a full appreciation what the Blues do for fans here and how much we appreciate how much the sport has grown."
Blues president and CEO Of business operations Chris Zimmerman said the exhibit adds to a memorable 50th anniversary season.
"It's an exceptional opportunity," Zimmerman said. "The fact that the Blues, in our 50th year, that the wonderful Central Library has this great exhibit on our history and the NHL in their 100th anniversary is hitting every city with the Centennial Tour. You bring all that together, coupled with everything else that's gone on this season, it's exceptional.
"One of our goals [is] just to continue to celebrate everything that the Blues have meant to the city, to the region. We've been working, whether it's been with the library, with the Arch grounds, just to create events that bring people downtown, get them excited, and that really celebrates and gives people the chance to enjoy the great sport that we have."
The main attraction is a 53-foot museum truck that features more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, historical memorabilia, and unique photo moments. There's also a second 53-foot trailer that hosts a giant video screen featuring team trivia and highlights, a pop-up ball hockey rink, and the "Clear The Ice Zamboni VR Experience, which lets fans compete against each other in a race to resurface the ice.
"It's a great exhibit. I love the way they tailored it to the Blues and the fans can kind of tailor it to themselves," St. Louis Sports Commission president Frank Viverito said. "It's great to come downtown for a game and enjoy a little bit of the NHL and the Blues' history."