AFFTON — St. Louis Jr. Blues head coach and general manager Chris Flaugher has announced he is stepping down from the organization.
“It’s been an honor, and I am very humbled to say that I was the head coach and general manager for a program with such a rich history and tradition,” said Flaugher.
Flaugher has guided the Jr. Blues to 238 regular season wins since assuming the head coaching duties in 2013. He has served as the general manager since 2011. During his tenure as head coach, the Jr. Blues won three Midwest Division Regular Season titles, three Midwest Division Playoff titles, and two Central Division Playoff titles. As a head coach, he recorded a postseason record of 25-10-3. The organization has reached the NA3HL’s Fraser Cup Finals in five of Flaugher’s eight seasons, making the championship game in 2017-18 and semifinal in 2018-19. The team fell just short by one goal in overtime both years. In 2016, Flaugher was named the NA3HL General Manager of the Year.
He describes the move as a way to spend more time with family, including his nine-year-old son Jack, who has started his youth hockey career.
“To step down was a very difficult decision to make, but at the same time it was a very easy decision to make. Over the years, I’ve had to miss a lot of Jack’s practices, games, and tournaments,” said Flaugher. “Now I’ll be able to be around my son and support him through the rest of his hockey career. It takes a lot of time to run a junior team, and now I’ll get to spend a lot more time at home with my family and give my wife a break from pulling double duty as a parent.”
Flaugher began his playing career with the Jr. Blues in 1996 and spent four seasons with the team. He was team captain for the 2000 Hurster Cup team. Flaugher was also an assistant coach with the St. Louis Jr. Blues in 2004-2006. During that time he was part of three USA Hockey Junior B National Championship teams.
“As a kid growing up at the Affton Ice Rink I was able to watch some great players like Nick Carosello, Matt Jost, Kraig Stecker, Kris Marggherio and I aspired to one day wear the same jersey,” said Flaugher.
“I am very thankful for my first coach with the Jr. Blues Jim Giacin to give me an opportunity that turned into a four-year career. Then to graduate college and be invited by Jack Behan to join the coaching staff was another opportunity that I am thankful for and wouldn’t have been the coach I am today without working alongside him, Frank ‘Doc’ Runco, and general manager Jim Jost Jr. And of course none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for Mr. and Mrs. Jost, who provided the foundation for this program. Not enough thanks can show my appreciation for the Jost family.”
Flaugher could not pinpoint a top moment with the program, but his outstanding moments as a GM and head coach were numerous throughout the decade.
“There are so many things I’m proud of that we accomplished. We were a goal away from becoming National Champions, we were successful in the standings, but I think overall I am most proud of seeing the players use our program to reach their goals in hockey,” said Flaugher.
“We had several players make college commitments and make the jump to higher levels of junior hockey. To see players like Blake Dango make an NCAA Division I college commitment a year removed from the Jr. Blues is what this is all about.”
Flaugher credits his to his loyal support staff over the years, which includes longtime assistant coaches Greg Anderson and Mark Staub as well as Game Day Operations Manager Todd Schlereth.
“Over the years, I would not have been able to do what I’ve done without the help of all of the assistant coaches and people that have been helpful along the way,” said Flaugher. “If you want to be successful, you have to surround yourself with great people, and I for sure had great people around me. I owe everything to those people and wouldn’t have been able to do what I did without them being a part of the Jr. Blues family. And of course without the commitment and hard work of all the players that came into our locker room, we wouldn’t be the program we are.”
Flaugher plans to continue to be around as an informal advisor to help out the new coaches and management with the ins and outs of junior hockey and the NA3HL. A new head coach and general manager for the Junior Blues will be announced shortly.
Visit stljrblues.org for the latest information on the team. The Jr. Blues can also be found on Facebook @STLJrBlues . The team is also on Instagram @stljrblues and now on TikTok @stljrblues.