MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Missouri – Alexander Steen is back on the ice for the St. Louis Blues, more than two years after announcing his retirement from the NHL.
The 39-year-old works for the Blues during their talent camp, which runs from July 1-4, after being hired as a European player development advisor last week.
“It is great. Really nice to be back, yeah,” Steen said Monday. “Family wise things have kind of settled down and you can relax a bit after a lot of gaming and all that entails. It just took some time, but you stayed up to date and kept track of a lot. You obviously miss it.” From day one. I missed St. Louis a lot too. I haven’t been back and forth here as much as I’d hoped since I retired, but I’ve been coming back a little more lately. I’m glad about that. “
Steen, who was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round (#24) of the 2002 NHL Draft, averaged 622 points (245 goals, 377 assists) with 496 points in 1,018 games over 15 seasons for Toronto and St. Louis (195 goals, 301 assists) in 765 games with the Blues after being acquired through a trade on November 24, 2008.
When playing in the fourth row with Ivan Barbashev and Oskar Sundqvist helped Steen den Blues win the Stanley Cup in 2019 for the first time in their history.
A little over a year later, on December 17, 2020, Steen retired from the NHL due to multiple degenerative herniated discs in his lumbar spine.
“There are so many memories. The connection we had with the city and how much so many people have helped me on a personal level…this is our home,” Steen said. “Even though we haven’t lived here in the last few years, it still feels like home to us. We come back here and it’s like we never left. We have been here for a long time in April and May fans, the passion that reigns in the city. You can also see what’s going on with the St. Louis football team (St. Louis City SC). All of that comes out when you see the logo now. It means a lot, for sure.”
Before taking the job with the Blues, Steen spent the last two years working as a sports manager for IF Sundsvall Hockey, which plays in HockeyEttan, a third tier league in Sweden.
“Most of the time it’s about helping with strategic things,” Steen said. “European clubs are obviously structured differently, with the U9 players through to the junior teams under 18, U20 and then the men’s team. It’s been a lot about helping this club strategically and talking to the city about it. Help get more Ice Ages, help them build a gym and just create better equipment for the players that are there and then also develop the girls sport. There’s a lot of girls who’ve started playing hockey in the past few years, the way it’s really growing up over there. I try to help them with that and then of course my dad is a little bit more with the juniors and I was with the men’s team a little bit more helping them out.”
Steen’s daily responsibilities at St. Louis include helping develop the Blues’ three first-round picks from the 2023 NHL Draft: center Dalibor Dvorsky (#10), center Otto Stenberg (#25) and defenseman Theo Lindstein (No. 29). Both played in Sweden last season.
“I think it just helps support the kids, and especially now we picked a couple of Swedes there in the first round,” Steen said. “Even ‘Dali plays over in Sweden too. I’ll talk to these guys. This week was great. I will have a personal connection with the guys and get to know them on a personal level. Obviously very talented hockey.” Player.
“Our boys know it. You keep a good eye on these kids. It’s more about if they just have character questions or things like that, if there’s anything else they can back up their opinions with besides great character kids. They have a lot of passion. This week was great. There was a lot of fun.”
Steen added that it took him a little time to adjust to working in hockey operations, but he’s excited to be back with the Blues and NHL.
“I wouldn’t say the transition was easy. It took a long time to switch off and settle down a bit,” Steen said. “It was a small change. But now the pace of life is a little slower and things like that. It was great. I spend a lot of time with family but I’m really looking forward to it. That’s it.” Joking. You have great kids and you’re back and working with the guys here and this organization. I’m excited.”