ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Former Blues great Bobby Plager was an original Blue, and his number "5" hangs from the rafters at the Enterprise Center downtown. However, former teammates and players say his compassion and legacy stretch far beyond the ice.
"You meet Bobby Plager, and he shakes your hand, and says 'welcome to the family'," said former Blue, Jamie Rivers.
Rivers said Plager was a role model, a champion of hockey and had tremendous compassion for the St. Louis community. He says Plager treated everyone he met, like family.
"His work on the ice was fantastic, his work with the Blues has always been incredible, but really Bob Plager has been the number one liaison between the fan base here in St. Louis and the St. Louis Blues team," Rivers explained.
Rivers says he had a close relationship with Plager and was shocked to hear of his sudden death. He says Plager is the reason he stayed in St. Louis.
"He made it a big family. To play in St. Louis, and to live here, and for me now to retire here, that's because of guys like Bob Plager," Rivers continued.
Plager made it to a few Stanley Cup Finals, but never got to hoist up the cup as a player. In 2019, the Blues brought the cup home for the first time, and former players and people close to Plager say, it's because of him.
"One of the players, Pat Maroon who was on that team, said the first game they won when they started that 11-game win streak, Bobby was the one who put the pub on that board," said ESPN 101 Blues pre and post host Alex Ferrario.
Ferrario says Plager brought St. Louis together. Ferrario said Plager single-handedly turned the city into a true hockey town.
"He was going to events, talking about the Blues hockey team, and what they meant to him. I think that cup run, the line everyone will remember about Bobby Plager and what will epitomize that cup run was, 'I wanted a parade and they finally got me my parade," Ferrario explained.
News 4 also talked to former Blues player and Hall of Famer Bernie Federko Thursday. Federko was very close to Plager and says his legacy will truly be missed.