Saving St. Louis
Pat Maroon’s Hometown Hero Story…
And it’s not over yet.
No player in NHL history had ever scored an overtime winner for his hometown team in a Game 7. That changed on Tuesday night when Patrick Maroon found gold inside the arch behind Ben Bishop in double overtime. It was a deflection from the heavens that rested in the crease before Maroon slapped it home, and just like Maroon himself, home it went.
The entire family was in attendance to see Maroon send his hometown Blues past the Stars and into the Western Conference Finals. They didn’t have far to travel, because this is where his story began.
Maroon grew up in St. Louis. His family had Blues season tickets. It’s where he played youth hockey. It’s where he had his son, Anthony. It’s where he spent his offseasons for the past 11 years. It’s where he grew up watching his favorite team fail to get over the hump, time and time again.
It’s also where he hopes to win his first Stanley Cup and deliver the city’s first as the hometown hero.
In 51 seasons, the Blues have made the playoffs a remarkable 42 times. Believe it or not, that 82.3-percent playoff appearance mark is the best in NHL history, eclipsing the Montreal Canadiens (81.1 percent) who made the playoffs in 82 out of 101 seasons.
Even with all that winning, the Blues have reached the Stanley Cup Finals just three times – all in succession during the club’s first three seasons from 1968-1970 – and they’ve never won. Forty-two cracks at the playoffs. Zero Stanley Cups.
Back to Maroon, this week’s hero and the potential poster-child for the city of St. Louis.
Maroon scrubbed the ranks of the AHL and NHL for 11 seasons. He started as a sixth-round pick in 2007 before skating through the AHL for four years. When he finally broke into the NHL, he spent seven years with the Ducks and Oilers before last season’s short stint with the Devils.
Last summer, Maroon finally earned his free-agent bargaining power. His entire career path was out of his hands for more than a decade, and now it was his turn to choose where he wanted to play. He turned down significantly better offers to sign a one-year, $1.75 million deal with St. Louis. He gets to see his son, his family, and his city at every home game.
On Tuesday, the clip of Maroon’s son went viral. After his dad’s game-winner in double overtime, Anthony was brought to tears. Rest assured, Pat was, too.
Now, the icing on a city-wide cake awaits. The 31-year-old Maroon has given St. Louis a chance to do something it hasn’t done in 49 years – make the Stanley Cup Finals. Or better yet, something it’s never done – win it.