O'FALLON, Mo. — During this COVID-19 era, a lot of us are missing the normalcy of some of our favorite past times.
Only a lucky few have been allowed inside the Enterprise Center to watch the Blues play in person so far, but for one fan, he doesn't have to go far to get that "rinkside experience". All he has to do is walk down to his basement.
Dennis Minner is a 48-year-old health care worker, husband and father of two. And when he and his wife moved into their current house, Dennis had an idea.
"As soon as we walked down into our downstairs it was a completely unfinished basement. I jokingly looked to my wife and said, 'You get the top two floors, can I have the downstairs to make a hockey rink?,'" Minner said.
So that's what he did.
"Minner Arena" is a basement-sized version of the Blues' home at Enterprise Center all the way down to the lines on the "ice" and the exact NHL color patterns.
Everything is to scale in this hockey man cave, and hundreds of items of memorabilia line the walls of this Blues shrine. With, of course, a TV in the middle to watch the team in action.
Former NHL players like Jamie Rivers, Tony Twist and Cam Janssen have stopped by and been blown away by the craftsmanship.
"It kind of gave a quality stamp of approval I guess you could say on what we had created," said of the players' reactions to his creation.
"Minner Arena" is getting some attention around the country as well.
Recently it was named a top 10 NHL man cave by Groundworks, and the NHL Network recently had Minner on as their creator of the week.
But for Minner, his slice of Blues heaven is just a labor of love.
"I'll never put that title saying that mine is the best. But it's something that I've strived to make unique," Minner said. "And one of the reasons I enjoy being interviewed about it is because I, as a Blues fan, like to hear about it."