Blues pay tribute to Bobby Plager, who dies at 78

The St. Louis Blues mourned the death of Bobby Plager, who died at 78 on Wednesday. Reports indicate that Plager died due to a car accident.

You can see Blues GM Doug Armstrong pay tribute to Plager in the video above. Here’s the team’s statement about Plager:

It is unimaginable to imagine the St. Louis Blues without Bobby Plager.

He was an original 1967 member of the St. Louis Blues, but also an original in every sense of the word. Bobby’s influence at all levels of the Blues organization was profound and everlasting, and his loss to our city will be deep.

Bobby liked to say he was No. 5 in our program, but No. 1 in our hearts. Today, our hearts are broken, but one day they will be warmed again by memories of his character, humor and strong love for his family, our community, the St. Louis Blues and generations of fans who will miss him dearly.

The St. Louis Blues send all of our love and support to his family, and we hope everyone will find strength knowing that Bobby got his parade.

Underscoring that note about it being hard to imagine the Blues without Bobby Plager, KMOX notes that he’s the only person to be involved with the team from basically day one.

Plager, 78, is known as the only person to be part of the Blues organization for every year since the team’s inaugural season in 1967. He was selected by the team in the expansion draft, played in St. Louis for 11 seasons, has served as head coach, has been a radio analyst and most recently a “Blues Ambassador.”

Since his retirement as a player in 1978, he had been a beloved member of the Blues community. His brothers Barclay and Billy also played for the Blues. Both Bob and Barclay’s Nos. 5 and 8, respectively, have been retired by the Blues.

Gary Bettman and the NHL added this statement following Bobby Plager’s passing:

“Few men in the history of our game were more closely connected to a city and a franchise than Bob Plager was to St. Louis and the Blues. In the lineup for the Blues’ inaugural game on Oct. 11, 1967, he assisted on the first goal in franchise history and committed the Blues’ first penalty that night – thus commencing a 54-year association with the organization. Plager played 11 seasons on defense for the Blues – including four alongside brothers Bill and Barclay – appeared in three Stanley Cup Finals in the franchise’s first four seasons and had his number 5 retired in 2017.

“Upon retiring as a player, Plager served the Blues in various capacities for four decades. Respected by fellow players for his toughness, he was beloved by teammates for his welcoming personality and forged a fierce bond with St. Louis fans that would last his entire life. The National Hockey League family mourns the tragic passing of a true St. Louis original and send our condolences to his daughter, Melissa, his son, Bobby, his two grandchildren and his countless fans in St. Louis and throughout hockey.”

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