Today, Chaminade proudly welcomed Paul Stastny ‘04 and Chris Butler ’05 back to campus for a surprise visit at an all-school assembly in the world class Skip Viragh Center for the Arts. Earlier this summer, it was announced that the Chaminade hockey alumni were coming home to play for the St. Louis Blues.
The Chaminade student body was unknowingly treated to a surprise, star-studded event slated as an all-school assembly to review the details of their new block schedule. They were pleasantly surprised to see Blues radio play-by-play broadcaster Chris Kerber, poised to interview Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock and General Manager Doug Armstrong.
A few minutes into the interview, Kerber teed up a video highlighting the homecoming of two of Chaminade’s own to play for their hometown team – the St. Louis Blues. The video featuring Phillip Phillip’s song, “Home” set the tone of the event with emotional shots of St. Louis landmarks, Scottrade Center, footage of their NHL careers, vintage shots of their days in Chaminade Hockey and the Chaminade campus. It ended with a slide exclaiming “Welcome Home Paul and Chris.” Kerber then invited the students to get out their cell phones for “something big!”
Much to the surprise and excitement of the 809 Chaminade students, Paul Stastny and Chris Butler were waiting in the wings donning their Chaminade Red Devil hockey jerseys. The Chaminade Fight Song blared and red strobe lights panned the audience. The students knew that something amazing was about to happen. Stastny and Butler rushed into the audience, high fiving and fist bumping students and teachers all the way down the aisle until they reached the stage and joined Kerber, Hitchcock and Armstrong. The students were wild with excitement and were on their feet cheering, clapping, hooting, taking pictures with their phones and Tweeting to #WeAreChaminade and posting to Instagram, Vine and Snapchat.
Click here to see an interview with Paul Stastny.
Click here to see an interview with Chris Butler.
Click here to see a video of the event.
Click here to see a photo gallery.
Click here to see a Chaminade photo gallery.
When the crowd finally quieted, Kerber invited Doug Butler, Chris’ dad, to join them on stage. They talked about what it meant to their family to have their son playing for the home team. The crowd couldn’t help but notice that Mr. Butler had something in his lap. To their surprise and delight, he presented Chris and Paul with their new St. Louis Blues jerseys, which were set to be publicly unveiled later that day at the Blues Ice Breaker event at Ballpark Village. The next thing the crowd knew, Paul and Chris removed their Chaminade jerseys to don their new Blues jerseys. Everyone cheered at the sight of these Chaminade alumni - the latest professional athletes to call St. Louis home again. But it wasn’t over yet; Kerber had yet another surprise. He called Ellis Burgett ’15 and Luke Radetic ’16, members of the Chaminade Red Devil Hockey Team, to come forward to receive their Chaminade hockey jerseys from Paul Stastny and Chris Butler!
Once again, the students erupted as Ellis and Luke ran to the stage to meet the hockey stars. The presentation ended with an epic group selfie featuring Paul, Chris, Ellis and Luke joined by Hitchcock, Army, and Kerber with the entire Chaminade student body gathered in the background.
Special guests were in attendance to join Paul and Chris for their homecoming to Chaminade - Mark Heffernan ’82, Chaminade’s Board of Trustees Chair; along with several members of the Chaminade Hockey Board - Matt Hrubes ’91, President; Chris Coulter ’92, Joe Radetic; former teammate, Tom Brooks '04, former teammate; and several members of the Blues front office, including Tom Stillman, Chairman and Governor.
Chaminade extends its thanks to the St. Louis Blues organization for graciously hosting this event on their campus and to John Eilermann ’82, whose leadership was instrumental in making this event possible,
Stastny and Butler Come Home
Paul Stastny, a center, accepted a four-year offer to join the St. Louis Blues over as many as a dozen others from around the league. Stastny has been entrenched for a decade with the Colorado Avalanche and Denver University for a decade, but the son and younger brother of two ex-Blues players chose to return to his roots.
The former Chaminade College Prep player will wear the No. 26 of his Hockey Hall of Fame father, Peter, when he takes the ice for the season opener Oct. 9 at Scottrade Center — about 20 minutes from where he and his older brother, Yan, grew up in Chesterfield.
“I wanted to go somewhere I was comfortable with and somewhere I know the lay of the land a little bit,” Stastny, said. “I was in a good position. I had good teams interested in me. I think in the end, you almost have to take a step back, take all of the emotions out of it and try to realize what’s best for me hockey-wise, not just next year, but two or three or four years down the road. My family and I thought that going to St. Louis would probably be the best hockey decision for me.”
With Paul’s signing, the Stastny family will be the first trio in franchise history to play for the same organization. Peter Stastny finished his Hall of Fame career after playing 23 games with the Blues covering the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons; Yan Stastny suited up in 50 games from 2007-10 and Paul will begin his career with the Blues this season. There are five other father-son combos who have both worn the Blue Note.
A two-time Olympian with the United States, Stastny had 25 goals and 60 points for the Colorado Avalanche last season and 5 goals and 10 points in seven playoff games. He has played eight seasons in the NHL.
Chris Butler, a defenseman, will wear No. 25 next season for the St. Louis Blues after signing a two-way contract, meaning he will be paid an NHL salary when he's on the Blues' roster and a minor-league salary if he's assigned to the club's American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago. This took place two weeks after Paul Stastny agreed to a four-year contract with his home team, "It's pretty exciting," Butler said, "getting the opportunity to put on the jersey that I've watched ever since I was a little kid, the jersey that I was watching when I fell in love with hockey."
Butler, who was drafted by Buffalo in the fourth round of the 2005 NHL Draft, has played six seasons in the NHL. He was traded to Calgary from Buffalo in 2011 and has spent the past three seasons with the Flames.