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NHL Winter Classic

Ken Hitchcock's hat received 'yes' vote from Blues

Coach's fedora, Robby Fabbri's skates stand out in win at Winter Classic

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock edged left wing Robby Fabbri with his style at the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks at Busch Stadium on Monday.

Hitchcock's headgear beat out Fabbri's footwear, but the forward's motives were definitely worth the wait.

The 65-year-old coach went with an old-school, retro-style fedora, bought at Levine Hat Co. in downtown St. Louis.

"I didn't choose it, the boys over at Levine chose it for me," Hitchcock said after the Blues defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. "I was told that that was the best place to go and get one so I went there.

"The guy suggested a sombrero, and I told the guy, 'I'm round enough as it is.' We settled on a navy fedora. It's a Stetson style. It was one-and-done."

Tweet from @LevineHat_Mike: #Hitch grabbed the hat last week from me at Levine Hat in STL! Great win today! #WinterClassic #Blues #Hitchcock

Hitchcock was not about to wear the fedora without the blessing of his players.

"I asked the players to vote on it, and if they would have voted no I wouldn't have worn it," he said. "They voted yes; they needed a laugh before the game."

And it was an overwhelming "yes."

"We had a vote in here whether he'd wear it or not," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "He had to. ... He just came in with the hat and just said, 'Yay or nay,' if we wanted him to wear it. He wore it."

Fabbri wasn't cast aside by any means.

His royal blue skate blade holders, or tuuks, were worn for the second time; he wore them at practice last week to see how they felt prior to the Winter Classic.

Tweet from @andystrickland: Robby Fabbri breaking in new skates for #winterclassic. Will be auctioned off after game #stlblues

But it was with a purpose, one he wouldn't initially divulge last week.

"I wore them to honor guys like [Wayne] Gretzky and Doug Weight, who did it in their careers," Fabbri said. "I'm going to put those out and get some fans to get them into a raffle; I think that's what we're doing. Get that money to Gateway Locomotive and those kids over there and do it for charity."

Fabbri's father was an Edmonton Oilers fan, and the tuuks will be made available in an online raffle on the Blues' website along with a game-used stick from earlier in the season.

The Gateway Locomotives program, established in 1994, is a St. Louis-based youth hockey program that gives developmentally-challenged children and young adults the chance to play the game.

"[Gretzky and Weight] were two of my dad's favorites, and both of them were Blues greats also, so I thought it would be pretty cool to honor those guys," Fabbri said. "Helping the Gateway Locomotives is the main reason I wanted to do it, in addition to honoring those two great players. Anything I can do to get the public involved while helping kids who otherwise wouldn't be able to play the game. … I think it's definitely worth it."

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