WARMANN: Checketts Legacy
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – On Wednesday Dave Checketts, the Chairman of the St. Louis Blues, officially announced the organization is up for sale. How will the Checketts legacy be remembered as the city and organization try to find their 8th different owner during the past 40+ years?
Unfortunately, in the “what have you done for me lately world” that we live in, it would appear most people have animosity towards Mr. Checketts as to what has happened to this Blues team over the last couple of months and I think that’s a shame. How quickly we forget that his group brought a pulse to an organization that was flat lined by Bill Laurie and his people.
When Dave Checketts and his group walked into the Clark Street offices back in mid 2000’s this team was the worst in the NHL. During the first couple of years of Checketts tenure the teams weren’t great, but you could still feel a new energy within the organization with some very creative marketing strategies to get people to come back to the Scottrade Center and support the Blues.
As time marched on the young players started to develop and became competitive and in 2009 they broke through by making it to the playoffs. Sure the first round sweep by the Vancouver Canucks isn’t what we had hoped for, but it seemed the team was on the right path.
Over the last two years the team never seemed to reach its potential. Yeah, there were injuries, but most of us had our hearts set on a return to the playoffs and that didn’t happen.
As we look back, the injuries to key players this season may have been the writing on the wall for Mr. Checketts to continue to be a part of the Blues ownership team. While he was scrambling to find new investors, players were shelved for an extended amount of time this year and the 3rd and 4th line players were getting more ice time. That worked out for a while, but eventually time and talent would catch up to the Blues. When the team needed help in January, the ownership didn’t have deep enough pockets to make a big splash and the best they could come up with was an offer sheet to a couple of guys who had just left the Russian league.
The bottom line is Mr. Checketts couldn’t come up with enough investors to keep his controlling interest. Any single entity or person who was going to take over Towerbrook Capitals stake of ownership of the organization was not going to let Dave Checketts drive the car.
I give Mr. Checketts all the credit in the world because he could have stuck this out in order to keep his controlling interest in the team and hold this good young core of players back from moving toward a playoff push and a chance at winning the Stanley Cup with the lack of finances. But he didn’t and I think Dave Checketts should be applauded for standing up and doing what was right for the team moving forward. Everyone should be showering him with thanks for his hard work and dedication in his short time as owner in putting the St. Louis Blues back on the map.
Mr. Checketts, if no one else will, I will officially invite you to our party on Market Street when Lord Stanley arrives.
Scott Warmann is a co-host of KMOX Sports Hub