3View: St. Louis Jr. Blues
The 3View series will feature an in-depth look into all NA3HL teams in preparation for the 2019-20 season, with two teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 3View goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all the head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2019-20 season, including taking a look at their potential roster and their strengths as a team for the upcoming season. It will also take a look back on the 2018-19 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 3View will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
St. Louis Jr. Blues
2018-19 Record: 35-9-3, 73 pts. (2nd in the Central Division)
2019 Playoffs: Lost in Fraser Cup Semi-Finals
Head Coach: Chris Flaugher
2019-20 Division: Central
For four straight seasons the Jr. Blues have earned their way to the Fraser Cup Championship — including a trip to the Fraser Cup Final in 2017-18 — but each trip has ended in heartbreak, with the latest edition coming in semi-final overtime fashion against the L/A Nordiques last season. Since joining the league in 2010, though, the St. Louis juggernaut has been fearsome throughout the regular season, posting 30+ win seasons in eight of nine years. Head Coach Chris Flaugher looks forward to carrying forward that dominance as he and his team look to finally chase down that elusive championship title, even if the roster is a bit green.
"We have expectations to compete night in and night out. With only a few returners, it'll be an exciting challenge to work with and develop basically a new team," said Flaugher.
And while much of the team will be learning the ins and outs of junior hockey on the fly, the returning band of Blues will look to lead the way and carry on the tradition of success already present in the Blues' organization.
"With a lot of turnover, we have a lot of new faces and new to the junior game. With that being said, we will bring back a good D core headed up by team captain Mason Kruger. Up front we bring back alternate captain Sean Hofstetter. With those two players returning we will lean on them, along with the support of returning defensemen Joey Boccardi, and Dylan Giacin to show the new players the Jr. Blues' way of hockey and the NA3HL," said Flaugher.
And what exactly does the "Jr. Blues way of hockey" entail?
"It all starts with work ethic," said Flaugher. "From that we will work to get our team acclimated to the junior game. We want to compete hard at practice and follow that up at the games."
St. Louis saw a stunning 11 players advance to the collegiate ranks in 2018-19, a testament to their own skills, the reputation of the organization and the hard work behind the scenes by the coaching staff. In order to maintain the high bar they set last year, Flaugher and Co. will be counting on increased exposure from league events to help their players reach their goals.
"The first thing is constant communication with the next level coaches. From there we get our players opportunities to skate with NAHL teams. After that we will rely on the East Coast Showcase we are participating in, along with the Blaine Showcase and stop Prospects," said Flaugher.
Flaugher also notes the importance of community service with regard to player development.
"We will look to raise money for local charities and help out with the local Affton Hockey youth community," he said.
The Jr. Blues have already established themselves as a premier team in the NA3HL, but with new talent and energy on the roster this season, they'll be on the hunt for hardware to back up their championship pedigree.