Sunday will be the biggest sports day of the winter for a lot of Americans. Not for Blues owner Tom Stillman.
The most exciting day – or days – took place earlier this week. Stillman became the first NHL owner to take part in Wayne Gretzky's fantasy hockey camp. Even more remarkably, he wasn't the only high-ranking team executive to participate. He wasn't even the only high-ranking team executive from St. Louis.
Matter of fact, he wasn't even the only high-ranking team executive from St. Louis to play on his line. Skating on the opposite wing was Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III.
"I was calling them the richest line in hockey," said Gretzky, with a laugh.
Stillman, 61, became a hockey chairman when his group purchased the Blues last May. He has been a beer league hockey player for many more years, often skating with the Blues alumni group. He has participated in Blues fantasy hockey camp in years past.
Years ago, Stillman had a good friend who regularly would call him and leave a message, identifying himself as Wayne Gretzky. Last August, Stillman walked out of a restaurant in town and his cell phone rang. The screen on his phone indicated it was Wayne Gretzky calling.
"And I thought, 'Is this a joke?' Stillman recalled.
It wasn't. It was Gretzky.
Gretzky explained he was finalizing plans for his annual camp in Las Vegas. Each year, a different NHL team is represented and adopted as the official camp jersey. Gretzky Fantasy Camp XI was wearing the jersey of the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues.
Adding to the effect, Gretzky was bringing in former Blues players such as Curtis Joseph, Cliff Ronning, Kelly Chase, Grant Fuhr, Geoff Courtnall and Garth Butcher. In all, the 14 former NHL pros involved accounted for 18 Stanley Cups. For spice, former Blues mentor "Iron" Mike Keenan was among the coaches.
Blues' Stillman, Cards' DeWitt lll form hockey's 'richest line'
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Feb 2