Former St. Louis Blues star Bob Plager was killed in a car crash on Wednesday, police said. He was 78.
Plager was alone in his vehicle when it collided with a vehicle carrying two people on Interstate 64 in St. Louis at around 1:30 p.m., police said. One woman suffered minor injuries. No other details were released.
“It is unimaginable to imagine the St. Louis Blues without Bobby Plager,” the team said. “He was an original 1967 member of the St. Louis Blues, but also an original in every sense of the word. Bobby’s influence at all levels of the Blues organization was profound and everlasting, and his loss to our city will be deep.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also released a statement on Plager’s death.
“Few men in the history of our game were more closely connected to a city and a franchise than Bob Plager was to St. Louis and the Blues,” Bettman said. “In the lineup for the Blues’ inaugural game on Oct. 11, 1967, he assisted on the first goal in franchise history and committed the Blues’ first penalty that night – thus commencing a 54-year association with the organization.”
The team paid tribute to Plager on Twitter as well.
Plager started his career with the New York Rangers in 1964. He played three seasons with the Rangers before joining the Blues on their inaugural 1967-68 team.
The ’67-68 Blues team was coached by Lynn Patrick and eventually Scotty Bowman. The team finished 27-31-16 with 70 points and finished third in the NHL West Division. Plager played 53 games as a defenseman alongside his brother Barclay. The team made it to the Stanley Cup only to lose in four games to the powerhouse Montreal Canadiens.
Plager played the rest of his career with the Blues. He recorded 20 goals and 121 assists over the course of his career.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.