Bob Plager, former NHL bruiser for the St. Louis Blues, died in a car crash Wednesday in St. Louis, according to local news reports. He was 78 years old.
Details of the crash are not clear, but KMOV4 reports that it was a two-vehicle crash in St. Louis that sent Plager to the hospital where he died. A woman was also sent to the hospital as a result of the crash, but she was only treated for minor injuries.
Blue general manager Doug Armstrong delivered a statement shortly after the news of Plager's death broke.
"Our thoughts and prayers go to Bobby Jr, Melissa, and the entire Plager family," Armstrong said. "As Bobby would fondly say, he's number five in your program, but number one in your hearts. That holds true today, and forever as Bobby truly is the St. Louis Blues."
Plager was a hard-hitting defenseman who spent over 50 years with the Blues as a player, coach, scout and ambassador. His career on the ice began in 1964, and he'd go on to play 14 seasons. Plager's time on the Blues began in 1967 where he helped the Blues go to three straight Stanley Cup finals alongside his brothers, Barclay and Billy. Barclay died in 1988, and Bill died in 2016. He was known as a prankster during his time as a player, once taking a teammate's false teeth and mailing them to his home during a long road trip.
Plager joined the Blues front office after his retirement in 1978. In 1990, he led a Blues minor league team to a championship, and then became the Blues head coach in 1992 where he resigned after 11 games to return as vice president of player development. The franchise retired his jersey in 2017.