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At 28, St. Louis Blues' captain David Backes is the centerpiece of a Blues team that has grown from a talented ensemble of youngsters into a matured group that challenged for the Presidents' Trophy during the 2011-12 NHL season.

Hailed for his determination and physicality, Backes is a versatile forward who is equally capable at playing center or on the wing. His game is predicated on aggressive, two-way play and David excels at shutting down big-name opposition stars in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Backes proudly represents the Blues as one of many talents developed from within their system. He holds St. Louis’ traditions highly and has been passed down the captaincy from former franchise greats including Al Arbour, Barclay Plager, Brian Sutter, Bernie Federko, Scott Stevens, Brett Hull, Wayne Gretzky, Chris Pronger, Al MacInnis and Eric Brewer.

Before his ascent into the NHL, David enjoyed a number of distinguished high school and college achievements. At Spring Lake Park High School, Backes was named a finalist for the 2002 Minnesota 'Mr. Hockey' and his retired number 5 is proudly displayed at Fogerty Arena.

David soon made the jump to junior hockey where he logged impressive numbers over two seasons for the Lincoln Stars. During his two years in the USHL, Backes totaled 90 points in 87 games and was voted a 2002-03 All-USHL First Teamer.

Courtesy Minnesota State University-Mankato
Backes was selected 62 overall by the Blues in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He continued his development at Minnesota State University-Mankato. David prided himself in the classroom and on the ice. He was named to the 2005-06 ESPN Academic All-American First Team along with 2005-06 Men’s Division I West All-America Second Team honors.

Since making his NHL debut with the Blues on December 19, 2006, Backes has brought consistent, two-way play to the table. He finished runner-up for the Selke Trophy at the 2012 NHL Awards and has averaged 54 points over the past four seasons has been an iron man over period. Backes has played in all 82 games in three of the past four seasons.

David proudly represented the United States at four major tournaments in four consecutive years. He competed on three American teams at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships and was a member of the inspirational 2010 U.S. Olympic roster that claimed the silver medal at the Vancouver games.

Courtesy St. Louis Blues
In 2011, he participated in the NHL's 58th All-Star Game and Hardest Shot competition at RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Backes recorded three assists in his All-Star Game debut.

Away from the ice, David and his wife Kelly are highly active in animal rescue efforts and pet adoption drives. David received his private pilot's license in 2012.

The Blues are the only team of the NHL's 1967 expansion group yet to lift the Stanley Cup. David is determined to change that and write a new, distinguished chapter in the Blues' storied history.

Contributed by Sean Hartnett