St. Louis Blues fans take photos before the Winter Classic.

(Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

Stillman: All-Star Game Doesn't Happen Without Renovations, Winter Classic, PGA Noise

The Blues chairman believes everything in St. Louis from its sports teams to the technology start-up community has played a role in its building momentum.

January 02, 2019 - 2:56 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - St. Louis Blues chairman Tom Stillman is viewing the announcement of the 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend coming to St. Louis, as just the latest example of this city trending in the right direction. In 12 months St. Louis will have another chance – following most recently the Winter Classic and PGA Championship – to showcase itself to the nation.

Stillman was a guest on The Mark Reardon show, Wednesday, which came on the two-year anniversary of the Winter Classic, played at Busch Stadium on Jan. 2, 2017. You can hear their full conversation at the bottom of this post.

Related: St. Louis Blues Will Host 2020 NHL All-Star Game

Foggy weather aside, both the league and NBC executives (official broadcasters of the Winter Classic) were very happy with what the Blues and entire St. Louis community helped pull off two years ago.

"St. Louis people showed what great sports fans they are, not only in the energy and the enthusiasm, but we sold out an Alumni Game," Stillman says, talking about the game played the day before the 2017 Winter Classic between former Blues and former Chicago Blackhawks players. "Toronto had an outdoor Alumni Game on the same day and had half of what we had. 

"It's the enthusiasm, the loyalty of the fans – plus it's just so pleasant here." 

Also the outpouring of praise the city and its sports fans were given by the best golfers in the world this past August helped show the NHL that St. Louis has earned this All-Star Game, Stillman says.

Stillman says the one absolutely necessary part in having the means to host such an event is the $150 million renovations happening at Enterprise Center. The nearly 25-year-old arena was beginning to fall behind other NHL franchises and comparable facilities around the U.S. 

"The arena had gotten to a point where we were no longer going to be competitive for events, whether they are NCAA or other sports and certainly for other league-wide events like this," Stillman says. 

Following the 2020 All-Star Game, St. Louis will look to compete as the next host city for future events such as an upcoming World Junior Championship.