Blues defeat Blackhawks 8-7 in Winter Classic Alumni Game

Kelly Chase collected a goal and an assist in a win for the Blues alumni on Saturday.
AP

ST. LOUIS — After a hard-fought third period, the St. Louis Blues alumni held on to beat the Chicago Blackhawks alumni on Saturday afternoon by a score of 8-7. While the victory was undoubtedly fun for players and fans alike, though, there was so much more to the event than the final score.

Blues and Blackhawks alumni gathered at Busch Stadium for the Winter Classic Alumni Game, an event that kicks off the festivities surrounding the NHL’s annual Winter Classic on Monday afternoon. Before the event kicked off, every player on each team was introduced to the crowd, giving fans a chance to cheer for their childhood heroes once again. In an unprecedented event, two members of the Blackhawks alumni squad — longtime Blues forward Jamal Mayers and current Blues color commentator Darren Pang — received massive ovations from the crowd.

The Blues started the game with five Hall-of-Fame skaters on the ice: forwards Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull and Adam Oates and defensemen Chris Pronger and Al MacInnis. In an interesting twist, though, all of those players were held scoreless. Instead, defenseman Barret Jackman, who had 29 goals in 876 NHL games, contributed a goal and forward Kelly Chase, who was known for his toughness and scored just 17 times in 458 games, had a goal and an assist.

Forward Pierre Turgeon had two goals, while Bernie Federko, Keith Tkachuk, Peter Stastny and Larry Patey also scored for the Blues.

Perhaps the most heartwarming moment of the day came at the beginning of the second period, when forward Keith Tkachuk came out wearing the No. 38 jersey of his former teammate, Pavol Demitra. Demitra, one of the most accomplished forwards in Blues history, died in a tragic plane crash while traveling with his team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League, back in 2011.

A sellout crowd of 40,128 fans — over twice the capacity of Scottrade Center — packed Busch Stadium for the exhibition game.