Bernie Federko your every man’s player.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 12, 2015
It can be argued both ways, which is the most important aspect but, you have a better chance of proving who came first, the chicken or egg! The fan base gives the team support in multiple ways, but without the team what would the fans have to cheer for? The players are there to do a job, if they do not do their job, they will quickly find themselves without a paycheck.
Bernie Federko was not a paycheck guy. He played with git and class. He was you every man’s player in a blue-collar town. Federko was a star, but he was approachable. Watching him play was an awe-inspiring thing. He turned the Arena into a star-studded show.
As a young kid I looked up to Federko, he treated me nicely, I must say, now as a small fry all I really knew were the St. Louis Blues and falling in love with them was easy. I fell in love with one player, and while I liked some of the other players on the Blues for some other reasons, my Italian heritage for one. We had the Cavallini brothers, Gino Cavallini and Paul Cavallini. These were some of the founding players in my eyes. They played the game with such passion; they looked out for their teammates and they feared nobody!
Federko though was my all-time favorite, I still have my super small jersey and my “Go Bernie” sign that I made out of an old Go Blues sign. One of Busch beers free giveaways during one game I attended at the old barn, The Arena.
It’s the art of a 8 or 9-year-old and you can tell. But we all know that really does not matter. As a young kid, I would go down to the ice, while wearing my Federko jersey, and cheer him on during warmups. He gave me like 5 or 6 sticks and countless pucks. I still treasure each one. They made the trip with me as I moved away from St. Louis to Dayton, Ohio. Then 3 years later to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and 3 years after that back to the St. Louis area.
The only place they did not travel with me was to college in North Dakota and my college trip to study abroad in Norway. Education being the most important thing to me during those years. College was difficult for me, just coming from a car accident where I suffered a TBI. So there was relearning of my first seventeen years of life, on top of higher education.
Just 3 months before my eighteenth birthday, my world became shattered. Every dream and hope I had seemed so distant now. My chances of playing college hockey, and my secret dreams of turning pro. I could not even tie my shoes. There are moments in your life when you just have to stop and say I am going to get through this.
Just Like my idle Bernie, I was going to be tough. I would not let things stand in the way of what I wanted. I need to remember how effortlessly Federko looked on the ice. Mike Zuke, the former Blue who played with Federko, said. “It was like he was not even on the ice but when you looked at the score sheet and he had a goal and two assists.” So if I can do it anybody can. If any of the readers out there are even considering college, it is worth it.
Now back to the ice and Number 24. He still holds the Blues records in assists, points & games played. He believed it was nice to score goals but even better to help others score goals. Bernie became the first true Blue to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame. He played for the Blues from 1976 where he was drafted 7th overall. Federko played all but 1 of his 14 years in St. Louis.
It broke my heart to see him being traded off to the Detroit Red Wings. Even though they traded him for Adam Oates. Oates along with Brett Hull made up one of the greatest dynamic duos in Blues history. Federko retired in 1990 and would get the call to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.
I do not know why it took them twelve long years to vote him into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was such a selfless player. He spent years setting up Wayne Babych and Brian Sutter, those 3 played on a line for years that gave way to the rise of the St. Louis Blues as a franchise. Staring on the famed 1980-81 team.
Now that I am back in the St Louis area, I hope to soak more of the Blues hora and hopefully, they can win another Stanley Cup. Even though the team could not reach that level when Bernie Federko was playing. They made him a part of this championship along with many other of the famed alumni. Federko remained here like many former Bluenotes. do after their career is over.
I have met him many times, and each meeting is like the first. Bernie is your everyday man. A blue-collar guy in a completely Blue Collar town. St. Louis loves our sports heroes. We feel their successes and their pain. When teams trade them away, it is like we lost a family member.
Bernie Federko became that family to me.
Mr. Guido is a lifelong fan of the Blues, who suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. Mr. Guido uses his love of the Blues and his newfound passion, the St Louis Fan Report, to help him in his daily routine. Mr. Guido stumbled across a live episode of the BlueNote Fan Report and was hooked. Mr. Guido hopes to continue writing for the Fan Report and hope you give him a little slack if his grammar is just a bit off.