The hockey world has lost another one of its icons. Bob Plager has tragically passed away at the age of 78 years old. He was an NHL player from 1964-65 through 1977-78. His number 5 is hanging in the rafters for the St. Louis Blues. The Blues organization announced the tragic news early Wednesday evening.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 24, 2021
Bob Plager Passes Away
Plager was a mainstay for the Blues during their first decade as an expansion franchise. The Kirkland Lake, Ontario native joined St. Louis via a trade with the New York Rangers that included such luminaries as Gary Sabourin and Rod Seiling. Plager accumulated 20 goals and 146 points in 645 games. If those totals seem low, remember that Plager was a defenceman in an era where they were not involved nearly as much on offence. He was far more important as a physical presence as evidenced by his 800 career penalty minutes. It was a fantastic 14-year-career despite never winning a Stanley Cup. His brothers, Bill and Barclay Plager also contributed the St. Louis’ early success.
There is little doubt that this is one of the saddest pieces of news to hit hockey in 2021. Pleger joins Ralph Backstrom and George Armstrong as legendary skaters to have left us since the year began. However, this is particularly sad if you are a Blues fan. It’s hard to know where the franchise would be today without one of its central figures from the formative years. He remained with the organization for years after playing, helping develop advanced scouting methods and even acted as a coach for a brief period of time. It’s no small feat to be with an organization for roughly a half-century and so beloved for that entire time. Fans may not be able to attend in large numbers yet, but the team is sure to have a full house when they can celebrate his memory properly in the future.
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