Huge Fan Turnout Boosts Blues on Day 1
It's officially hockey season.
The Blues opened Training Camp at 11 a.m. on Sunday at Scottrade Center, and fans turned out by the thousands (yes, literally) to watch the team take the ice for the first time during the 2012-13 season.
More than 5,500 fans showed up for Sunday's practice, a clear sign that Blues fans are among the most passionate in the League.
"It was pretty awesome for us," forward Jamie Langenbrunner said. "You never know how people are going to react coming out of this, but we were pretty sure our fans were going to be there for us. They showed today how supportive they are. It's a special feeling for us."
Fans in attendance watched more than 90 minutes of team practices before being treated to post-practice Q&A sessions with the players, a 20 percent discount on merchandise at the True Blues Authentic Team Store and food and beverage specials at the concessions stands.
The Blues will have six days of camp before the regular season begins on Saturday, Jan. 19 vs. Detroit.
"It's amazing the turnout today. It's nice," defenseman Barret Jackman said. "(The fans) were energetic today and they seemed excited. We definitely fed off of it.
"It's good to be back with fans watching."
It's awfully early, but Head Coach Ken Hitchcock had the following line combinations for Sunday's practice. Currently, there are 26 players participating in camp.
The Blues invited former CBC High School graduate Kevin McFarland to training camp this season, giving the team an extra goaltender in camp. Typically, Jake Allen and Mike McKenna would be available, but they are currently needed in Peoria.
McFarland was happy to take advantage of the opportunity.
"It's certainly a special moment. Growing up in St. Louis, being such a big Blues fan, you dream about being part of the team," McFarland said. "Being able to be out there with the guys has been a fun experience so far. "
McFarland has been skating with the team during informal skates recently. He played hockey at CBC for three seasons and graduated in 2005.
"If this ends tomorrow and they don't need me anymore, it still would be an excellent experience," McFarland said. "Everybody here in the organization has been so good to me and welcomed me in."
CAMP CONTINUES MONDAY
The Blues are back on the ice Monday for Day 2 of Training Camp. Practice begins at 11:30 a.m. at Scottrade Center and is free and open to the public. Click here for a detailed Training Camp schedule.