[Updated on March 26 with new details from the St. Louis Medical Examiner's officer about Plager's cause of death]
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Legendary member of the St. Louis Blues Bobby Plager died Wednesday after being involved in a car accident on Interstate 64.
The accident happened along eastbound Interstate 64 near Vandeventer. According to St. Louis police, Plager's Cadillac SRX veered to the left and hit a 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan. Plager's SUV then hit a concrete wall on the right and then crossed all lanes of the interstate and hit the concrete center median. Plager was rushed to a hospital, where he died. A woman in the other vehicle was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Friday morning, the St. Louis Medical Examiner's Officer said Dr. Michael Graham was still awaiting additional tests but that Plager's cause of death is believed to be related to a cardiac event. Other details were not released.
The Blues confirmed Plager's death, saying in a statement, "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."
"Our thoughts and prayers go to Bobby Jr, Melissa, and the entire Plager family," Doug Armstrong said. "As Bobby would fondly say, he's number five in your program, but number one in your hearts. That holds true today, and forever as Bobby truly is the St. Louis Blues."
Plager, who was 78, spent more than 50 years as part of the St. Louis Blues organization. He began his career in the NHL in 1964, playing 14 professional seasons as a defenseman. He joined the Blues when the franchise began in 1967. During that time he played with his brothers Barclay and Billy, and the trio helped lead the Blues to the Stanley Cup finals in three consecutive seasons. Barclay died in 1988, and Bill died in 2016.
After retiring in 1978, Plager joined the Blues front office, and is often said to have developed advanced scouting techniques for the franchise. In 1990, he coached a Blues affiliate to a minor league championship and won coach of the year, and was named as the Blues' head coach in 1992. He resigned after just 11 games, choosing instead to return to his role of vice president of player development. The Blues retired Plager's jersey in 2017.
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Former Blues great Bobby Plager was an original Blue, and his number "5" hangs from the rafters at the Enterprise Cent…
The Blues were back at the Enterprise Center Friday for the first time since the loss of Bobby Plager.
Reaction came from all over on Wednesday as the news of Plager's passing spread.
Current Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko gave his condolences to the Plager family.
Rest In Peace Bobby. Thank you for always being nice to me and my family. Our condolences to the Plager family. pic.twitter.com/bQqMlaGsPp— Vladimir Tarasenko (@tara9191) March 25, 2021
Former Blue Pat Maroon said "R.I.P Bobby. You were always smiling and always had a great story to tell. The St. Louis Blues family will miss having you around #5. My thoughts and prayers are with Bobby and his family during this difficult time."
R.I.P Bobby 💔 you were always smiling and always had a great story to tell. The @StLouisBlues family will miss having you around #5. My thoughts and prayers are with Bobby and his family during this difficult time. #BobbyPlager— Pat Maroon (@patmaroon) March 24, 2021
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson thanked Plager for "years of memories on and off the ice."
A sad day for St. Louis as we mourn the passing of a true hockey legend. I join thousands of fans in sending my condolences to the family and friends of the great Bobby Plager and the entire @StLouisBlues organization.Thank you Bobby for years of memories on and off the ice. #5— Mayor Lyda Krewson (@LydaKrewson) March 24, 2021
Former Blue Cam Janssen Tweeted simply, "We all love you Bobby,"
We all love you Bobby ... ❤️@StLouisBlues— Cam Janssen (@CamJanssen25) March 24, 2021
The Cardinals said their hearts are with the Plager family.
We loved Bobby and felt his love for St. Louis.Our hearts are with the Plager family, the Blues, and all who loved Bobby. pic.twitter.com/Ja6yjZz61S— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 24, 2021
The account of the late Laura Branigan, whose song "Gloria" became the official anthem of the Blues' historic Stanley Cup Championship run in 2018-2019, also expressed sympathy.
So sorry about the passing of St. Louis Blues legend, Mr. Bobby Plager. What a great man, & I'm so glad he got to hoist the Cup in 2019 & to have his parade down Market St. Deepest condolences to his family, friends, Blues fans, & Blues organization. ~Kathy Golik, Legacy Manager https://t.co/UB8LJu4PCv— Laura Branigan (@laurabranigan) March 24, 2021