The St. Louis Jr. Blues, proud members of the NA3HL, are announcing their annual First Responders Game will take place on Saturday, September 28 when they take on their arch-rivals, the Peoria Mustangs. Face-off at the Affton Ice Rink is at 7 pm, with an exhibition game featuring local police, firefighters, and EMTs serving as the curtain-raiser at 5 pm.
The annual First Responders Night has become one of the biggest events on the St. Louis Jr. Blues’ schedule, ever since the inaugural edition in 2015 raised more than $5,000 and drew a massive crowd to support the family of St. Louis County Officer Blake Snyder, who was killed in the line of duty just miles from the Affton Ice Rink. This year’s game will be a chance to aid the family of Michael Langsdorf, a fallen officer for whom the game of hockey was as central to his life as public service.
Langsdorf served as both a firefighter and a police officer during his 20 years as a first responder. He had recently begun a position with the North County Police Cooperative when he was called to a grocery store in Wellston, Mo. on June 23 to investigate the cashing of a suspicious check. Langsdorf, age 40, was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend the suspect: he is survived by his fiancé, Kim, and his two children from a previous marriage, Kaleb and Olivia.
Jr. Blues head coach Chris Flaugher had worked with Langsdorf when he was an officer in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police, and the pair bonded over their shared love of hockey. “Mike was one of those guys who simply was called to be a first responder,” Flaugher said. “He was a hard-working, patient man who really believed in the ‘serve’ part of ‘to protect and serve’. His loss was felt deeply by all of us across the city and I can honestly say I lost a great friend that day.”
Langsdorf’s connection to hockey wasn’t just as a devoted fan: he had played the game as a child at Affton, and as this article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes, picking up the game again as an adult helped him through several personal troubles. “Mike had a number of things go against him a few years back, including a divorce, and he really needed somewhere to escape all of that,” said Flaugher. “There’s a saying, ‘if you respect the game it’ll respect you back’, and getting back into hockey helped Mike physically, mentally and personally. We couldn’t think of a better tribute to him than this game.”
The Jr. Blues will be wearing special commemorative jerseys featuring Langsdorf’s image, badge number, and the NCPC shield (pictured above), which will be up for bids during the game as well as other silent auction items. Proceeds from these auctions will be used to help send the Langsdorf family to National Police Week in Washington, DC, as well as support them in future endeavors. In addition, Center Ice Brewery will be offering free beer for fans 21 and up at this game from 5:30 pm until the taps are dry. Tickets are $10 and can be obtained at the gate.