Former Jr. Blues Head Coach, Matt Buha, will be inducted into the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame on August 29, 2015. In doing so he joins a long list of former Jr. Blues to be inducted. He will join former owner, Jim Jost, Sr., former coach, Jack Behan, current coach, Mark Staub (inducted as a player), Bud Stege, John Wensink and, not the least of which, Frank Ferrara, Sr.
Buha began his junior hockey coaching career with the Affton Americans Jr. B team. After taking the reins mid-season as an interim finally resigning after 10 1/2 years in March of 1991. In his tenure with Affton he led his team to 3 National tournamens.As his sons began playing, Buha moved to youth and high school hockey coaching in the Affton organization and at Chaminade College Prep for 7 seasons.
But Buha coached during an exciting time in St. Louis hockey. After the 1986-87 season, the board of the St. Louis Metropolitan Jr. B Hockey League decided it was time for a change. The two remaining local teams, the St. Louis Jr. Blues and Affton Americans decided to combine forces. The organizations merged and they joined the North American Juniorh Hockey League, Jr. B Division, joining teams based in Detroit to form the league in 1987-88.
The 1987-88 Jr. Blues team played the season as the Affton Jr. Blues (see photo). After winning the league, the team only discovered in Detroit at the Gold Cup Championships that they would need to win the tournament to secure a bid to the USA Hockey National Championships. The team would win the inaugural Gold Cup and represent the league in Monsey, NY, his 4th National Championship Tournament appearence. Despite dominating play early that year, they would lose a heart-breaker in the semi-finals and fall short of a National Championship.
The team, however, would be the first St. Louis based team to win a league championship outside of St. Louis and as Buha says, "It was the start of competing effectively on a national scale." He was also named the league's coach of the year in the 1987-88 and the 1988-89 seasons. About those awards, he laughed, "That was easy, considering our talent." Buha continued, "I take great pride in being the coach of that first team, though. The first team to compete in a league with teams outside of St. Louis."
The St. Louis Jr. Blues, Affton Americans Hockey Club and all of his former players congratulate Matt on his induction.
If you would like more information about the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame and the August 29th ceremony, click on the link below.