The 2019 Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues, are proving they are arguably one of the best teams on and off the ice. As their hometown faces difficulty with the rapid spread and consequences of
On March 12, the 2020 season of the National Hockey League (NHL) came to an abrupt halt as concerns about the spread of coronavirus surrounded the organization.
The previous night, the National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended their season. It was only a matter of time before the NHL followed suit. The decision was made in an effort to protect fans, coaches, players, and employees from the pandemic.
The NHL said in a statement announcing their pause that "it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time" following news out of the NBA that player on the Utah Jazz, tested positive for the coronavirus. The NHL began preparing for the stoppage by advising all teams to cancel morning skates, practices and team meetings. The league also adopted a new media policy that prevented reporters from entering the dressing room.
Following their 4-2 win at Anaheim, which was a rescheduled game after Jay Bouwmeester's collapse on the bench, the St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube was already wondering how to prepare for the unscheduled and indefinite time off.
"You can practice as much as you want, but without playing games, it is difficult," said Berube. "It's a bigger issue than a hockey game. We have to deal with what we have to. We have to keep ourselves in shape and as sharp as we can if we start up again.''
Organizations and governments around the world are quickly responding to the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing is becoming a norm in society as we continue to work together to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In further efforts to flatten the curve and prevent cases, St. Louis specifically is prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more people. Restaurants and businesses are changing and limiting their walk-in and dine-in policies while the area is under social distancing and quarantine.
With that in play, many St. Louisans, and people around the nation, are losing their opportunity to work. The employees at Enterprise Center, where the Blues play in St. Louis, are also now facing financial issues due to the NHL suspending play.
While people from all over come to watch the 2019 Stanley Cup Champions perform their magic on the ice, it's the several hundreds of people who work the games that bring the arena to life. And the Blues know it.
The Blues organization is a family. In order to lessen the financial hardship being experienced by their game-night workers at Enterprise Center, The St. Louis Blues have created the "Blues Employee Assistance Fund".
Blues ownership, players, and local donors (including a $100,000 donation from Blues season ticket holder) worked together to quickly establish the fund.
The fund itself is administered by the Blues for Kids charitable foundation, which has made a donation from proceeds generated by the 50-50 raffle at each Blues home game. Fans who purchased raffles while the season was in play have also made a difference for the Blues family.
In addition, EVERY player on the Blues team has made a contribution to the fund. Every single one.
There are 189 games and 3½ weeks remaining in the NHL's regular season. If play does not continue, does this mean the Blues keep the Cup? Not sure, but they certainly are keeping their love for their city in mind during this indefiniate pause.