St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues will retire Bob Plager’s No. 5 jersey

Original St. Louis Blues player Bob Plager (5) attends player introductions before the home-opener NHL hockey game between Blues and the Minnesota Wild on at the Blues home opener on Oct. 13. He was joined by teammates as the original team was honored on the 50th anniversary of the start of the organization.
Original St. Louis Blues player Bob Plager (5) attends player introductions before the home-opener NHL hockey game between Blues and the Minnesota Wild on at the Blues home opener on Oct. 13. He was joined by teammates as the original team was honored on the 50th anniversary of the start of the organization. AP

One of the original St. Louis Blues and among the most popular players in franchise history, Bob Plager will have his No. 5 retired by the team in a ceremony on Feb. 2, 2017 prior to a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Plager has been with the organization as a player, coach, scout and in several other capacities since being originally acquired on June 6, 1967 from the New York Rangers. He also will be honored during the first period of the Blues’ Saturday night home game against the Los Angeles Kings.

His No. 5 will become the seventh number retired by the Blues, joining Al MacInnis (No. 2), Bob Gassoff (No. 3), Plager’s brother Barclay Plager (No. 8), Brian Sutter (No. 11), Brett Hull (No. 16) and Bernie Federko (No. 24).

The only other brothers to have their jerseys retired by the same team in NHL history are Maurice and Henri Richard of the Montreal Canadiens.

Plager and brothers Barclay Plager and Billy Plager all played together with the Blues from 1968-72.

For years, a No. 5 banner that includes a framed blue heart has hung in the Scottrade Center rafters in Plager’s honor for his contributions and service to the franchise.

Plager made sure his familair No. 5 was passed on to a rookie defenseman that caught his eye, Blues’ first-round pick Barret Jackman, who wore it throughout his tenure in St. Louis.

Plager was known as one of the roughest and toughest players to ever wear the Blue Note, dumping opponents with his trademark hip checks and never shying away from physical play.

In 10 seasons, Player had 141 points and 762 penalty minutes in 615 games before retiring after the 1977-78 season.

Among the titles he has held with the Blues since then are head coach, director of professional scouting and vice president and director of player development.

He also coached the Blues’ minor league affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen, in 1990-91 and guided that team to the Turner Cup title.

In a team-issued news release, the Blues said:

“Throughout his career, Bobby has been an ambassador for not only St. Louis and the Blues, but for the NHL and the game of hockey as a whole. At the dawn of the franchise, he was responsible for developing the identity of the Blues on the ice and for half a century he has helped cultivate an unbreakable bond between the team and the St. Louis community. Today, he continues to represent the organization with unwavering pride and passion, showing players and fans alike what it means to be a Blue.”

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

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