For the past two seasons, the St. Louis Jr. Blues’ annual game honoring police, firefighters, and EMTs in the community has been one of the highlights of the season, frequently drawing the biggest crowd of the year and also producing some memorable wins. In 2016, over a thousand fans packed in to the Affton Ice Arena to honor Blake Snyder, a St. Louis County police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty several weeks before the game, and saw the Jr. Blues romp over the Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts 11-1. Last year was all about Matt Crosby, a former Jr. Blues player who joined the force after his playing days were over and was paralyzed while responding to a domestic dispute in Sunset Hills, Mo: that night the club raised several thousand dollars for Crosby and his sons, while the Jr. Blues skated to a 6-2 rivalry win over the Peoria Mustangs.
This year’s game, to be held November 10 at 4 pm at Affton Ice Rink, is promising to be the biggest and best First Responders Night yet. Not only is it a re-match of last year’s Fraser Cup semi-final against the Coulee Region Chill, but this year the Jr. Blues are partnering with Responder Rescue, a charity founded by a local fire captain that assists police, firefighters and EMTs across the metro area in dealing with injuries, trauma, and mental health related to the work they do in the community.
“The great thing about Responder Rescue is that they recognize that just because you wear a badge and are sworn to protect and serve our communities doesn’t suddenly make you super-human,” said Jr. Blues head coach Chris Flaugher. “Our first responders are still regular people after all, and just like regular people they have issues in their own lives—ones that are often compounded by the work they do every day and some of the things they see while on duty. Responder Rescue helps those who serve us by providing support above and beyond what insurance companies can do to help them deal with these everyday problems, and allow them to focus on serving local citizens with professionalism and distinction.”
The Jr. Blues will be wearing special commemorative sweaters, modeled above by defenseman Hunter Muzzillo, which will be auctioned off throughout the game. In addition, several of the Jr. Blues sponsors will be giving away promotional items to fans in attendance, and on the ice it promises to be a great matchup between two of the top teams in the NA3HL’s Central Division. Tickets are still available at Affton Rink, and we hope to see you there on Saturday afternoon.