Springfield Jr. Blues
For over three decades, the Springfield Jr. Blues have been a dominant force in the world of minor hockey. From their humble beginnings in 1993 as an expansion team in the North American Hockey League (HL) to their current status as a top team in the United States Hockey League (USHL), the Jr. Blues have created countless memorable moments and cemented their place in the hearts of hockey fans. In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the most historic upsets and wins in Springfield Jr. Blues history.
1994: The First Championship
In just their second year of existence, the Jr. Blues made history by winning their first-ever HL championship. Led by head coach Phil Berger and star players like Darren Noga and Craig
Ferguson, the team had a record-breaking season and dominated the playoffs, sweeping the Fargo-Moorhead Ice Sharks in the finals. This historic win established the Jr. Blues as a force to be reckoned with in the HL.
1999: Move to the USHL
After five successful seasons in the HL, the Jr. Blues made the jump to the USHL, widely considered the top junior league in the United States. This move cemented the Jr. Blues as a premier team and attracted top young talent from across the country. Despite a slow start in the new league, the Jr. Blues quickly proved themselves as contenders, and in 2001, they made their first appearance in the USHL playoffs.
2004: First USHL Championship
Five years after joining the USHL, the Jr. Blues finally achieved their goal of winning a championship in their new league. Led by star players Mike Carman, Tom Sawatske, and Joe Vitale, the Jr. Blues defeated the powerhouse Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in a thrilling five-game series. This historic win not only brought the Jr. Blues their second championship, but it also solidified their place as a top team in the USHL.
2019: Return to Glory
After over a decade of ups and downs, the Jr. Blues made a triumphant return to the top of the USHL in 2019. Led by head coach Tyler Rennette and a talented roster including standout players like Max Brainin and Aaron Swanson, the Jr. Blues stormed through the regular season and playoffs, losing only three games in the postseason. In a thrilling championship series against the Sioux Falls Stampede, the Jr. Blues avenged their 2004 loss and brought home their third USHL championship.
Memorable Players and Coaches
Throughout their history, the Jr. Blues have been home to many talented players and coaches who have left a lasting legacy for the organization. These include players who have moved on to successful careers in professional leagues such as the NHL, AHL, and ECHL. Some notable names include Mike Carman, who played for the Colorado Avalanche, and Craig Ferguson, who had a brief stint with the St. Louis Blues.
The Jr. Blues have also been led by some of the most respected coaches in the game, such as Phil Berger, Tyler Rennette, and current head coach Tyler Love. These coaches not only instilled a winning mentality in their players but also helped foster a strong team culture and a sense of community within the organization.
As the Jr. Blues continue to make their mark in the USHL and produce top talent for the professional leagues, the future looks bright for this storied organization. With a dedicated fanbase and a strong development program, the Jr. Blues are set to keep making history for years to come.
The Springfield Jr. Blues have had a rich and storied history filled with memorable moments and achievements. From their first championship in 1994 to their most recent triumph in 2019, the Jr. Blues have left an indelible mark on the world of minor hockey. As fans and followers of the team, we eagerly await the next unforgettable chapter in this historic franchise.