Blues Select 2 Kids for Jr. Blue for a Day

Children were nominated for making a difference in their community

Monday, 03.30.2009 / 5:15 PM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
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Blues Select 2 Kids for Jr. Blue for a Day
Payton McDonnal and Brian Ott pose for a photo with Blues principal owner Dave Checketts (right) and minority owner Tom Stillman (left).
Photo Gallery: Jr. Blue for a Day
After signing his first contract, Brian Ott left Scottrade Center wondering when he’d get his first paycheck.

“That’s all he talked about when we got home (after watching practice),” said his dad, Steve Ott.

Brian is a 10-year-old boy who has battled cancer for the last seven years and was selected Saturday, March 28 to be the first Jr. Blue for a Day. The promotion is designed to reward children who make a positive impact in their community.

In truth, the contract didn’t actually come with a salary, but to Brian, it was special nonetheless. In addition to a contract signing, he received a Blues jersey from Blues chairman Dave Checketts, attended the morning skate, took a locker room tour, met players, took a ride on the Olympia and watched the game from a suite.

“They’ve done everything,” Steve said. “(The players) have signed everything he wanted, he’s done everything he wanted to do.”

Brian experienced the special day with 11-year-old Payton McDonnal, who helps raise money for Friends of Kids with Cancer, an organization devoted to enriching the daily lives of children undergoing treatment.

Payton lost her sister, Lauren, to cancer in 2005.

“Ever since that point, she’s really been involved with something positive going towards her sister’s memory,” said her dad, Charles McDonnal. “She really gets a lot of her friends at school involved and lets them know (Friends of Kids with Cancer) is a great organization to donate to.

“She’s really learning something now that she’s going to take into her adult years. It’s really kind of a neat thing to see, your child develop like that. She’s been terrific.”

The Blues accepted nominations for the program on their website, stlouisblues.com, in early March. In order to become Jr. Blue for a Day, the child had to exhibit outstanding behaviors or acts, which include community service, overcoming personal limitations or continuous acts of kindness.

Both Brian and Payton were perfect fits.

“Being a part of this today has just been tremendous, above and beyond anything we ever expected,” said Charles. “I wish nothing but great things for (Payton) and Brian. They’re great role models right now, even at this young age.”

“I just couldn’t miss this for the world,” said Payton.

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