Sid Salomon Jr, Blues first owner, to be inducted into new team Hall of Fame

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Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

On Feb. 9, 1966, St. Louis was awarded a National Hockey League franchise for an expansion team that didn’t even have an owner lined up. That void was soon filled by the late Sidney Salomon Jr. and his son Sid Salomon III, who came forward to purchase the franchise and its original venue, the art deco St. Louis Arena on Oakland Avenue. In October 1967, the team started its first season.

Now, Sid Saloman Jr. is to be among the first St. Louis Blues legends inducted into the new St. Louis Blues Hall of Fame. The team announced the news of the Hall of Fame’s creation and the first inductees on Monday, October 3.

“The St. Louis Blues are one of the most storied franchises in the National Hockey League, a member of the expansion class of 1967, so our history is understandably rich with legendary players, coaches and executives,” said Blues President and CEO of Business Operations Chris Zimmerman.  “The Blues Hall of Fame is an idea that is long overdue, but soon to become reality. It will honor those who have played a key role in sculpting our franchise and laid the foundation for building St. Louis into the powerful hockey market it is today.”

The inaugural class will be announced on Saturday, Oct. 15, when the Blues host the Columbus Blue Jackets to open the 2022-23 regular season at Enterprise Center.

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The Blues Hall of Fame

Blues Hall of Fame inductees may include players, coaches, management or broadcasters that have made a profound impact on the franchise.  Prior to the beginning of each season, members of the Blues Hall of Fame selection committee, comprised of former and current members of the Blues organization, Blues Alumni and members of the media, will each submit nominations for consideration.

In addition, the Blues are proud to offer fans the chance to participate in the selection process.  Fans will be able to visit www.stlouisblues.com/halloffame, log in with their Bluenatics account and cast their Hall of Fame vote.  For 2022 nominations, voting will stay active until Monday, Oct. 10 at 11:59 p.m.  Once the results are compiled, the inductees will be announced on opening night.

Salomon automatically inducted 

The Blues Hall of Fame will recognize 10 automatic inductions, including the eight players who have had their numbers retired by the team – Al MacInnis, Bob Gassoff, Bobby Plager, Barclay Plager, Brian Sutter, Brett Hull, Bernie Federko and Chris Pronger – as well as original team owner Sid Salomon Jr. and Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster Dan Kelly.

How St. Louis Jews helped give birth to the Blues

(The following was written by Robert Cohn, the Editor-in-Emeritus of the St. Louis Jewish Light in 2016)

Thus it was the action of local Jews — Salomon and his son, joined by another St. Louis Jewish leader, Robert Wolfson — whose actions made possible the birth of the Blues.

Salomon Jr., in particular, deserves special recognition within the St. Louis Jewish community because, in the midst of his first year as the owner of the Blues, he accepted an appointment as general chairman of the 1967 Jewish Federation Campaign.

When Salomon gave his acceptance speech as Jewish Federation campaign chairman, he noted that he was an almost namesake to King Solomon of the Hebrew Bible.

“I only hope that I can emulate the quality that King Solomon was best known for: his great wisdom,” Salomon said. “There is another thing I have in common with King Solomon: He built the First Temple in Jerusalem, and I bought the Arena for our local St. Louis Blues Hockey Team.”

The father-and-son Salomon team were joined by the late Wolfson, a longtime leader in the St. Louis Jewish community and one of the group that acquired the site of Camp Sabra for the Jewish Community Center.

Jews and the St. Louis Blues: 6 things you might not know

(The following was written by Bill Motchan, of the St. Louis Jewish Light in 2019)

1. Retired Blues defenseman Bob Plager (right) married a Jewish staffer he met during his playing days while he was a patient at Jewish Hospital. Plager subsequently converted to Judaism and married Robyn Sher. Plager was on the last Blues team to make the Stanley Cup Finals.

2. Former Blues player Steve Dubinsky (left) was a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona. Dubinsky was born in Montreal. The 6-foot center played 28 games for the Blues toward the end of his career in the 2002-2003 season. He had six assists (and no goals) while a member of the Blues.

3. Hockey is an extremely physical sport and there is no shortage of injuries. During the Blues’ early years, Dr. Jacob Probstein doubled as team physician and director of surgery at Jewish Hospital.

4. The San Jose Sharks, which the Blues beat in the third round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, had two Jewish players on their team when they made the playoffs in 2014. They were forward Mike Brown and defenseman Jason Demers.

5. In 1983, the Blues nearly moved to Saskatoon. Ralston Purina, the owner of the team at the time, was preparing to sell the team and the remote mining town in Saskatchewan seemed to be its destination. Then Harry Ornest put up the money to save the team and keep it in St. Louis. Ornest was a Jewish, Los Angeles-based businessman who made his fortune in vending machines.

6. Gary Bettman has been commissioner of the National Hockey League since 1993. Prior to that Bettman was a senior vice president and general counsel to the National Basketball Association.