ST. LOUIS – Thousands of cheers rocked the Enterprise Center as the Blues clinched their first-round playoff series Thursday against the Minnesota Wild. But unlike the Stanley Cup run of 2019, Laura Branigan’s hit “Gloria” did not accompany the cheers after the final buzzer.
The Blues retired “Gloria” as their anthem after their first Stanley Cup title three years ago. In recent months, another classic has taken over the role as the go-to anthem after Blues home victories. Enter the Beach Boys.
As the Blues advanced past Round 1 for the first time since being crowned champs, the 1960s hit “Fun, Fun, Fun” marked the end of a hard-fought playoff series. Some fans may have just picked up on that Thursday, but it’s not the first time the Beach Boys have played after a home win. In fact, the song played after the Blues’ first home victory of the 2022 calendar year on January 7.
It wasn’t by random chance that the Beach Boys, synonymous with summer-like hits, became tied to the 2021-22 St. Louis Blues. A previous high-profile matchup with the Minnesota Wild looks to be the most likely reason for it. The Blues and Wild met outdoors for the 2022 NHL Winter Classic, the league’s near-annual New Year’s Day celebration. With puck drop starting at minus-6 degrees, the tilt made history as the coldest game in US professional sports history.
Ahead of the Winter Classic, the Blues embraced the frigid conditions in about the most unlikely way possible. Players and coaches wore beach-day attire, such as Hawainn shirts and sandals, as they left the hotel, hopped on the team bus, and made the trek to Target Field.
“We knew it was a bold move,” Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington told NHL.com. “I think it was something we just figured, when you’re 50 years old and looking back, are you going to want to see you getting off the bus in a suit or something funny like (beachwear)?”
Binnington, oftentimes remembered as a catalyst behind the Blues success with “Gloria” as an anthem, also ended up starting the Winter Classic. He stopped 29 of 33 shots in the premiere outdoor matchup to lead the Blues to a 6-4 victory. Nearly four months later, he took care of business against the Wild again, winning the last three games of the Blues’ first-round playoff series.
Per NHL.com’s report tabbing the Blues as “The Beach Boys,” it’s unclear who first suggested beachwear as the attire before the Winter Classic, but some teammates believe Binnington may been behind the idea. The Beach Boys band nor the Blues have publicly mentioned anything about “Fun, Fun, Fun” becoming a habit after victories, but it gained attention on Twitter via The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford as the Blues clinched the series. All in all, the tune and the “Beach Boys” theme came full-circle as it played while the Blues and Wild shook hands Thursday.
Up next, the St. Louis Blues prepare for a challenging playoff matchup with the Colorado Avalanche, the Western Conference’s top-seeded team. Schedules are still pending, but the second round could begin shortly after the NHL’s first round of playoffs concludes Sunday.