St. Louis Blues legend and team original Bobby Plager was killed in an interstate car accident Wednesday, the team announced. He was 78.
Plager played in St. Louis for 11 seasons and 616 games and was part of the original team from the 1967 NHL expansion.
He played in three Stanley Cup finals with the Blues. The team retired his No. 5 jersey in 2017.
“It is unimaginable to imagine the St. Louis Blues without Bobby Plager,” the team said in a statement. “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.”
Plager was involved in a two-car accident on I-64 in St. Louis, the cause of which was under investigation. KMOV reports a woman in the other vehicle was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
In total, Plager spent more than 50 years with the Blues as player, head coach for 11 games in 1992 and front office and scouting executive.
“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,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “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. …
“The National Hockey League family mourns the tragic passing of a true St. Louis original.”
Plager began his playing career in New York with the Rangers from 1964-67. He finished with 146 career points (20 goals, 126 assists) in 14 seasons.
Plager was a teammate of his two brothers in St. Louis. Barclay played for the Blues from 1967-77 and Billy played for the team from 1968-72. Barclay died at age 46 in 1988 and Bill passed away at age 70 in 2016.
–Field Level Media