Ice Bears hope Blues playoff run will increase the Ozarks’ interest in hockey

In sports, there might not be passion quite like hockey passion.

“You can scream, you can yell. It’s an energetic sport,” said Missouri State Ice Bears General Manager Ryan Armstrong.

Thanks to his life in hockey, Armstrong knows that quite well.

“It’s one of those things you have to see in person to understand how fast it is, and how good these guys are on that little 1/8 inch of steel, which is just amazing,” Armstrong said.

As a St. Louis native, Armstrong is loving the Blues run as much as anybody.

“I grew up going to the Checkerdome and Kiel Center and Scottrade Center and Enterprise Center and everything it is, it’s been great,” Armstrong said.

Like Armstrong, Ice Bears Head Coach Jeremy Law knows all about the passion of his sport.

“I literally skate better than I walk, in Canada, you’re born with skates on,” Law said.

The Saskatchewan, Canada native says he’s enjoyed seeing the Ozarks get on board with the Blues.

“The support the city of Springfield and the state of Missouri has given the Blues is fantastic, so for us, being a local hockey team here, the more hockey fans in this area will help us,” Law said.

That’s what Armstrong and Law are hoping for.

A boost in interest thanks to the Blues might lead to more interest in the Ice Bears.

“More and more kids will watch the games and say ‘Hey I want to try that,’” Armstrong said.

That may also drive more kids to go watch the Ice Bears play.

Similar trends have been seen in other parts of the country.

“I coached in Dallas, Texas when the Stars won the Cup and when they won the Cup, hockey grew like crazy and now it’s a huge hockey hot bed,” Law said.

In fact, USA Hockey data shows the number of registered hockey players in Texas has more than tripled in the 20 years following that Stars championship in 1999.

“I’m hoping the same will happen here,” Law said.

There is one more thing that could help that happen, and that’s one more win.

Something Blues fans everywhere are dreaming of.

“Win or lose, they’re still my team,” Armstrong said. “But I would really enjoy that parade in St. Louis. I think that would be a fun thing to do.”

You won’t find a Blues fan who will argue with that.

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