The National Hockey League is full of grizzled, burly men who love nothing more than crumpling their opponent with a high-speed hip check and dropping the gloves when the time comes. The St. Louis Blues have one player, though, who’s taking the team’s game to another level, and he doesn’t even need a pair of skates to do it.
The St. Louis front office is raising Barclay, an adorable Labrador retriever puppy, over the next year until he enters an 18-month training program to start his career as a full-time service dog. If Barclay decides he wants a career change, though, he happens to be one heck of a hockey player and showed off his skills at one of the Blues’ practices.
Early in December, with St. Louis struggling out of the gate to a 11-14-4 record in the Central Division of the NHL’s Western Conference, Barclay took the ice for a Blues practice when he ran wild with a hockey stick in his mouth and stole the puck all in a matter of minutes.
Barclay was sent to the penalty box — Two minutes for excessive cuteness.
Someone get him a little dog jersey so we can keep enjoying the new and improved “Ice Bud” all season long.
St. Louis could really use the boost after an ugly start to their season, too. The Blues fired head coach Mike Yeo after the team started 7-9-3, and they haven’t improved much under interim coach Craig Berube. After missing the NHL playoffs last season, St. Louis’ season is trending towards another disappointing campaign.
Things are getting so bad that teammates Robert Bortuzzo and Zach Sanford got into it with each other and fought during a recent practice.
Barclay the adorable golden Labrador might not be the well-built, Herculean hockey player the Blues want, but he’s the uber-talented puppy dog that we all deserve on the ice.