Hey Toronto Maple Leafs fans, you think that you’ve been starved for a championship? You ought to talk to the people of St. Louis.
The St. Louis Blues could win their first-ever Stanley Cup as early as Sunday, when they meet the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final at the Enterprise Center.
What a photo.
Bobby Orr and the 1970 Bruins drive down a mobbed Washington Street in Boston after sweeping the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.
(📷: Getty Images) pic.twitter.com/QL3l0bEQyk
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) June 1, 2019
It’s the first time the Blues have contested a Stanley Cup final series since 1970 but it’s been much longer since the city of St. Louis celebrated a pro hockey championship. In fact, it was so long ago that the United States had yet to become involved in World War II.
The St. Louis Flyers were a powerhouse in the minor-pro American Hockey Association. The Flyers, who joined the league in 1928-29, won AHA championships in 1934-35, 1935-36, 1937-38, 1938-39 and 1940-41.
That 1940-41 title, which came eight months prior to the USA’s declaration following the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, was hard fought. The Kansas City Americans grabbed a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Facing elimination in Game 3, Fred Hergert scored in the fourth overtime period to give St. Louis a 3-2 win. It was Hergert’s only goal of the playoffs.
Bud Kashner registered a hat-trick in Game 4 as the Flyers drubbed K.C. 7-3. And Cliff (Fido) Purpur, among 14 players on the St. Louis roster who’d skate in the NHL, netted the winner as the Flyers won Game 5 by a 2-1 count before 13,261 at the St. Louis Arena. St. Louis lifted the F. Sinclair Trophy as AHA champions.
The St. Louis roster included forward Bill Kendall, who’d won a Stanley Cup with the 1933-34 Chicago Blackhawks. Captain Leo Carbol would play six games for the Blackhawks in 1942-43. Coach John McKinnon was a veteran of six NHL seasons who for decades held a share of the NHL record for goals in a game by a defenseman (four).
One of the greatest MLB catchers of all time, Yogi Berra was an avid hockey fan and known to be a good friend of Gump Worsley. He would skate with his hometown St. Louis Flyers of the AHL in the off-season to stay in shape – 1948 #classichockey #oldtimehockey pic.twitter.com/Suj8oqsIRz
— Classic Hockey Co. (@classichockey99) January 28, 2019
The AHA folded following the 1941-42 season. The Flyers would be reborn as an AHL team from 1944-45 to 1952-53. St. Louis also would have teams in the Eastern (1962-63) and Central (1963-64 to 1966-67) before the Blues were granted an NHL expansion franchise that began play in 1967.
However, none would be able to emulate the 1940-41 Flyers and win a title.
An interesting side note – in 1940-41, the Bruins were Stanley Cup champions.