Blues legend Bob Plager died in a car accident on Wednesday. He was 78.
The two-vehicle wreck occurred at about 1:30 p.m. on Highway 40 (Interstate 64) in St. Louis.
Plager, a defenseman, was an original member of the Blues when they joined the NHL as an expansion club in 1976. He played 14 seasons in the NHL, including 11 with the Blues, and helped St. Louis to three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals. Plager’s brothers, Barclay and Billy, were also part of those Blues teams. St. Louis retired Plager’s jersey in 2017.
Our hearts are broken after learning of the passing of Bobby Plager. It is unimaginable to imagine the St. Louis Blues without Bobby. https://t.co/eFVcQygsQS #stlblues pic.twitter.com/Bioof2l31m
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 24, 2021
“It is unimaginable to imagine the St. Louis Blues without Bob Plager,” the team said in a statement. “He was an original 1967 member of the St. Louis Blues, but also an original in every sense of the word. Bobby’s influence at all levels of the Blues organization was profound and everlasting, and his loss to our city will be deep. Bobby liked to say he was No. 5 in our program, but No. 1 in our hearts. 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.”
Plager joined St. Louis’ front office upon retiring as a player. He had a brief stint as a coach in 1992, which lasted 11 games, before he decided he preferred his role as vice president of player development. Plager stayed on with the team as an ambassador, and was on hand when the franchise won its first Stanley Cup in 2019.
The Blues said in their statement the organization hopes “everyone will find strength knowing that Bobby got his parade.”
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson tweeted that it was “a sad day for St. Louis as we mourn the passing of a true hockey legend.”
“Few men in the history of our game were more closely connected to a city and a franchise than Bob Plager was to St. Louis and the Blues,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “… Respected by fellow players for his toughness, he was beloved by teammates for his welcoming personality and forged a fierce bond with St. Louis fans that would last his entire life. The National Hockey League family mourns the tragic passing of a true St. Louis original and send our condolences to his daughter, Melissa, his son, Bobby, his two grandchildren and his countless fans in St. Louis and throughout hockey.”