ST. LOUIS – Al MacInnis and Bernie Federko now have statues side by side outside the St. Louis Blues’ arena.
MacInnis, a Hall of Fame defenceman who was honoured before the home opener Thursday night, said it will be easy to judge which one is which, even from far away.
“Bernie is the guy going through the neutral zone, the stick down and hair going, and mine obviously being the slap shot,” MacInnis said. “That’s what the fans want to see. You want to be able to look at one of those from a distance and you can kind of go, ‘That’s who it is.”‘
After taking a look at the statue with stick raised high in the air, team announcer John Kelly joked that MacInnis “could score from here, you had such a big shot!”
Despite rain, hundreds of fans attended the ceremony for MacInnis, who played for the Blues from 1994-2004 and now is vice-president of hockey operations. The statue is located outside the Scottrade Center, next to one of fellow Hall of Famer Federko.
“It might have been the worst day we’ve had in St. Louis in three months and they’re out there in the pouring rain, with umbrellas and having a good time,” MacInnis said. “We were underneath a dry roof, but the fans hung in there.”
The Federko statue had been in the concourse, but team chairman Dave Checketts wanted both outside where they could serve as a meeting place for fans. Checketts said a statue of Brett Hull will be next.
“You’ll be able to say, ‘Meet me at Bernie, or meet me at Al,”‘ Checketts said. “Maybe you’ll see, ‘Meet me at Brett.’ That’s got to be the next one.”
MacInnis was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007, a year after the franchise retired his No. 2. He is third among defenceman in points (1,274), assists (934) and goals (340) and helped the Blues make the playoffs all 10 seasons in St. Louis.
“When I grew up I was no different than any kid in Canada,” MacInnis said. “You dream of playing in the National Hockey League and you dream of winning the Stanley Cup and the Blues have afforded me two honours that really are beyond anyone’s dreams.”
MacInnis posed for photos during the planning stages, and joked that he hoped the face on the statue looked better “than the original.” He was struck by the permanence of the Blues’ gesture.
“My kids, they’re going to walk by that someday and tell their kids long after I’m gone,” he said. “Those things do kind of flash through your mind.”