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Won't somebody please get me out of here?
Gary Ronberg
December 01, 1969
Frazzled by the tension of coaching Minnesota's North Stars, Wren Blair wants badly to find a replacement. In the meantime he dreams of a day when Europe joins the NHL and there is another big M—Moscow
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December 01, 1969

Won't Somebody Please Get Me Out Of Here?

Frazzled by the tension of coaching Minnesota's North Stars, Wren Blair wants badly to find a replacement. In the meantime he dreams of a day when Europe joins the NHL and there is another big M—Moscow

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Blair even jazzed up the Minnesota fans. Early in the North Stars' first season the Minnesota following was as quiet as it was knowledgeable; it cheered little, and, when it did, applauded the good play of opponents as well as the home team's. A few nights of this and Blair lectured the fans in the papers. Why, he wanted to know, should the North Stars run into rough crowds in places like Boston and Chicago and New York and Montreal—and suffer for it—while visiting teams didn't get a dime's worth of riding in the Met? By the end of the year things had started to change.

When Blair has a little time in which to wear his general manager's hat, he likes to plot hockey's future. Among other things, he believes Europe should be dealt into the NHL. "Right now," he says, "the best we can ever be is No. 3. We can't put people in the seats like football and baseball, because we'll never have that many seats. The only way the NHL can become No. 1 is by going to Europe, by becoming a true international sport. Put teams in places like Moscow, Prague, Stockholm and London and hockey is going to become the most prestigious game in the world. I can see it now: the two big Ms—Minnesota and Moscow—going at each other before a sellout crowd at the Met."

For the time being, however, the crowds at the Met will have to be content with the North Stars going at the present NHL teams—which already include that other rather big M. Montreal. And the fans, whether they come out to watch the Stars or that nut behind the bench, could not be more faithful. Already Minnesota has drawn 128,207 in nine games for an average of 14,235. Meanwhile, Blair will keep up the hunt for a new coach. "I won't leave before I have the right guy, but I have to get somebody," he says. "Handling both jobs is too much for one man. A general manager is like a movie producer, a coach like the director. I'm just worn out from hollering cut, cut, cut!"

"When it happens everybody will miss watching The Bird suffer," says Lynn Patrick, managing director of the Blues and one of Blair's closest friends. "I'll never forget a night last year when we pounded them here in St. Louis 6-0. Glenn Hall even got an assist, and he's a goalie. Wren was sitting on a trunk by himself outside the Minnesota dressing room when our organist came walking down the hall. You know how he plays that song, When the Saints Go Marching In, after each St. Louis goal? Well, he doesn't recognize The Bird, and as he walks by he mops his forehead and says, 'I sure got sick of playing that damn song tonight.'

"For the first time in his life Wren couldn't think of anything to say."

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