Sarnia’s Armstrong orchestrates winning Blues

St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong. 25 August 2014. (Photo by Johnmaxmena2)

The architect of the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues’ unlikely rise from worst to first, is a native Sarnian.

Doug Armstrong was born in Sarnia and is the son of former longtime NHL linesman and scout Neil Armstrong, who still lives here.

After being dead last in the league at the turn of the calendar this year, Armstrong’s Blues completed an improbable rally in Boston Wednesday night. St. Louis beat the Bruins 4-1 to win its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The 54-year-old Armstrong has been with the Blues since 2008 and took over the team’s GM duties in 2010 following the retirement of Larry Pleau. Prior to joining St. Louis, Armstrong spent 14 seasons with the Dallas Stars organization, after first being hired by the Minnesota North Stars in 1992. He was the assistant GM on the cup winning Stars team in 1999 that included Wyoming’s Pat Verbeek, former Sarnia Sting Jonathan Sim and current Sting owner Derian Hatcher who captained the squad. Armstrong’s impressive resume also includes being part of Hockey Canada’s management group that won Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014.

His 86-year-old dad, Neil, was a linesman for over 22 years, officiating a total of 1,744 games and holds the “Ironman” record for most consecutive games officiated.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Officials category in 1991. After retiring in 1978, Neil became a scout for the Montreal Canadiens.

There’s another Sarnia connection on the cup winning Blues — Assistant Coach Mike Van Ryn played for the Sting in 1999-2000.

-With files from Dave Dentinger