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Jews and the St. Louis Blues: 7 things you might not know

St. Louis Blues history

Above, part of the front page of the Feb. 1, 1967 Jewish Light.  At right, from top are Sidney Salomon Jr., his son Sid Salomon III, and Robert Wolfson. 

1. The St. Louis Blues hockey team originated after the late Sidney Salomon Jr. (above left) and his son Sid Salomon III (above right) purchased the franchise and it’s original home venue, the St. Louis Arena. During the first year of his ownership of the Blues, Salomon Jr. was also general chairman of the 1967 Jewish Federation Campaign.

2. Retired Blues defenseman Bob Plager (right) married a Jewish staffer he met during his playing days while he was a patient at Jewish Hospital. Plager subsequently converted to Judaism and married Robyn Sher. Plager was on the last Blues team to make the Stanley Cup Finals.

3. Former Blues player Steve Dubinsky (left) was a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona. Dubinsky was born in Montreal. The 6-foot center played 28 games for the Blues toward the end of his career in the 2002-2003 season. He had six assists (and no goals) while a member of the Blues. 

4. Hockey is an extremely physical sport and there are no shortage of injuries. During the Blues’ early years, Dr. Jacob Probstein doubled as team physician and director of surgery at Jewish Hospital.

5. The San Jose Sharks, which the Blues beat in the third round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, had two Jewish players on their team when they made the playoffs in 2014. They were forward Mike Brown and defenseman Jason Demers.

6. In 1983, the Blues nearly moved to Saskatoon. Ralston Purina, the owner of the team at the time, was preparing to sell the team and the remote mining town in Saskachewan seemed to be its destination. Then Harry Ornest put up the money to save the team and keep it in St. Louis. Ornest was a Jewish, Los Angeles-based businessman who made his fortune in vending machines.

7. Gary Bettman has been commissioner of the National Hockey League since 1993. Prior to that Bettman was a senior vice president and general counsel to the National Basketball Association.