ST. LOUIS, Mo. (HockeyStL) -- 5,500. Think about that number for a second. Fifty-five hundred. That's about the size crowd you may see at a high school state championship game. A very nice crowd for certain events.
But a practice? Never. 5,500 fans must have something better to do with their time than to drive downtown and watch a bunch of guys practice. Right?
To just about everyone in the St. Louis Blues organization, today was about as pleasantly surprising as things can get. They opened training camp at the Scottrade Center after a lengthy lockout and did what any business would do that's desperate for positive attention.
They said all training camp practices would be free and open to the public.
Okay. That's nice. I'm sure they thought a handful of fans would wander downtown and cheer on the team during some drills.
But 5,500? Wow. And these 5,500 fans weren't just there. They were screaming at the top of their lungs as if this was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. They were so loud the players couldn't even hear Ken Hitchcock tell them what drills he wanted them to do.
Patrik Berglund said he was confused every time the head coach tried to explain what was next.
So Hitchcock actually had to change up practice. No joke. The head coach of the St. Louis Blues had to alter his practice plans for day one of training camp because so many fans were there screaming as loud as they could.
He had to simplify drills that were easier to explain amid the chaos.
No one was quite sure what the fan reaction would be following the lockout simply because everyone was so angry. Would they be back? Would they even care?
I think we got our answer today. It came in the form of a number. Fifty-five hundred.