<
>

Wolfson was key in bringing the NHL to St. Louis

2/4/2007 - NHL St. Louis Blues

CREVE COEUR, Mo. -- Robert L. Wolfson, who helped bring the
NHL to St. Louis and was a part-owner during the Blues' early
success in the late 1960s, has died. He was 88.

Wolfson, who lived in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, died
Friday at a hospital, Rindskopf Roth Funeral Chapel said Sunday.

Wolfson, Sidney Salomon Jr. and Sid Salomon III obtained an NHL
franchise for the city in 1966. The Blues reached the Stanley Cup
finals their first three seasons (1968-70) but have never won the
title.

"It was the place to be on a Saturday night," Bob Plager, who
played on the first Blues team and is now involved in the team's
community relations and radio operations, told the St. Louis
Post-Dispatch.

Wolfson and the other owners often invited the players to their
homes after games, said Plager, who remembered Wolfson as "a good
friend to everyone who played in those early days of hockey in St.
Louis."

When the team was sold to Ralston Purina in 1977, ensuring that
the Blues would stay in St. Louis, Wolfson helped put the deal
together.

Wolfson owned several car dealerships and was chairman of GEM, a
chain of membership discount stores that once had 50 locations
nationwide. He also helped charter several banks in the St. Louis
area. He was appointed chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission
in 1993 and served until 1998.

Wolfson, who was born in Velva, N.D., served as an Army captain
in India during World War II.

He is survived by his wife, Ethel; sons Andrew Wolfson and
Robert Wolfson Jr.; daughter Anne Wolfson; stepdaughter Jill Lee;
two grandchildren; and five step-grandchildren.

The funeral is Monday in Creve Coeur, with burial in Affton.