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Conference Final

Blues fans pack Philadelphia 'Gloria' bar to celebrate Cup Final trip

Revel in win against Sharks where song tradition started

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- If Bob Batdorf was going to be in Philadelphia while his beloved St. Louis Blues were going to clinch the team's first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 1970, the only place he wanted to watch the game was at Jacks NYB, where the "Gloria" tradition was born.

"I wanted to catch the game and to be around other Blues fans," Batdorf, a St. Louis native, said. "Super-excited to be at the birthplace of the turnaround."

Jacks NYB is the anonymous, members-only club that five players from the Blues -- forwards Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen and Robby Fabbri, and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Joel Edmundson -- walked into on Jan. 6 to watch the NFL playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears and came out singing "Gloria," the 1982 Laura Branigan hit song.

The next day the Blues won 3-0 against the Philadelphia Flyers, "Gloria" became the Blues victory song and Jacks NYB became the bar every Blues fan had to visit. The Blues were last in the NHL on Jan. 3; the win against the Flyers was the Blues' second in three games as they started to turn their season around.

On Tuesday, more than 150 people packed into the converted row home to celebrate and sing "Gloria" as the Blues won 5-1 against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.

"We're here on a business trip, we knew the story of 'Gloria,' we knew there was a game tonight and there was no way we were not coming here," said Amanda Hoff, a St. Louis native. "We didn't know if they'd let us in but we were coming. I expected some low-key bar and I get here and there's people on the street watching the game. I was in amazement already. I walked inside and this place is awesome. This was the best experience of my life."

Tweet from @NHLAdamK: Brayden Schenn has then cranking Gloria again pic.twitter.com/VcAHgUw52q

Matt Edwards, a Blues fan from St. Louis in Philadelphia for a construction job, said, "I just got to get here. I took an hour Uber [ride] to get here. ... I would be first row on the ice if I was in St. Louis so I've got to be here for this."

The 43 members of the club are part of the New Year's Brigade that marches in the annual Mummer's Parade, a Philadelphia New Year's Day tradition. They're diehard Flyers fans, but their relationship with the Blues has converted them from black and orange to blue and gold.

"It started with just the Jacks," said Mike Montecalvo, brigade co-captain. "The Blues came here and we just ran with it. Now all of a sudden you've got fans calling me non-stop, they're calling all of us, all day long, for the last three weeks, four weeks, they're asking to come, they're begging to come, they're flying in from St. Louis ... it's amazing and we're so thankful."

The club is a non-profit establishment and has raised money by selling blue T-shirts with "Play Gloria" on it. Montecalvo said his count prior to Game 6 was 1,300 shirts sold at $25 each.

"We're shipping out roughly 100 shirts every other day for the last two weeks," Montecalvo said.

Tweet from @NHLAdamK: They���re going to #PlayGloria from now until the Final starts at ���@thejacksnyb��� pic.twitter.com/NDyk0yOHIr

Hoff was one of the people who bought a shirt Tuesday. She said her husband was back in St. Louis trying to watch the game but storms in the area knocked out power, so she was doing her best to give them updates.

But now that the Blues have won and will play the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final starting Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS), she plans on coming back with him.

"I want to fly back here to watch another game," she said. "This was the coolest experience ever."

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