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STL Blues Better Halves

Sip, Shop & Show Special Event to Raise Funds for Thankful Nonprofit Groups

This time of year emphasizes gratitude stemming from opportunities to help others and be helped when needed. The St. Louis Blues 'Better Halves' group is a prime example of that valuable, selfless support. They're stepping up to provide a fun fundraising evening of fashion, cocktails, hor d’oeuvres, a silent auction and door prizes at a Sip, Shop & Show on Dec. 7. 

The Better Halves group is composed of wives and girlfriends of St. Louis Blues hockey players, coaching staff and managers.  

"Better Halves' goal is to generate funds that go back to the community," says Dominique Pino, Better Half of St. Louis Blues Hockey Head Coach Craig Berube. "We work with various charities to instill wellness and empowerment. Fashion is a fun way we're all connected. We're excited to have this additional, personal connection with the St. Louis community and fans."

Hannah Arnold, director of St. Louis Blues Community Development and Blues For Kids Foundation, says show attendees at Stifel Theatre will receive a special swag bag. The event occurs between 6-9 p.m. at 1400 Market St. in St. Louis. 

Dominique lends a specific, personal flair to this event's planning, as she's an enterprising designer of customized clothing, home decor and upcycled furniture. She knows firsthand how clothes, or the right wardrobe, actually can change lives by building self-esteem. "It wasn’t until I worked with patients with special fashion needs that I truly saw how clothing affects confidence," she explains. "I've had the pleasure to help others find comfortable apparel that helps with compression or prosthetics."  

She says the simple pleasure of putting on everyday clothing is truly something many take for granted.

Dominique has headed several fashion show fundraisers since 2009 to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer organizations in her home state of Pennsylvania. "My mom is a survivor, and I always felt I needed to do more to raise awareness," she adds. "Amber Van Ryn, the wife to Blues Assistant Defensive Coach Mike Van Ryn, is a breast cancer survivor as well. She introduced our group to STL Pink Ribbon Girls, and we've been working closely with them now for a few years."

More Sip, Shop & Show Details

Show tickets are $100 each, and can be secured through Attendance will be limited to 200 participants. 

Dayna O'Reilly, the wife of St. Louis Blues Captain, Ryan O'Reilly, says proceeds from the fashion fundraiser will go toward assisting organizations, such as Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, Lydia’s House, Pink Ribbon Girls, RISE and Stray Rescue of St. Louis. During 2019, the $8,150 proceeds from a limited-edition clothing line designed by Blues Better Halves benefitted Hockey Fights Cancer. They've also assisted Operation Shower, a nonprofit that hosts baby showers for military families. Additionally, they raised funds for the National Diaper Bank Network and volunteered at Urban Harvest STL.

Hannah says Blues Better Halves have contributed for 11-plus years to Lydia’s House families, with one of the most impactful and meaningful projects being shopping on behalf of, and decorating for, women and children who move into the transitional house as a safe space to heal from domestic violence.

"Without ever meeting the Lydia's House women and children, the Better Halves create a warm, homelike space for them to recover," Hannah adds. "Projects like this are what we are raising money for. The more we can raise, the more we can give back."

Blues Better Halves Members:

Kaitlyn Acciari, Camille Argentieri, Cris Prosperi, Ksenia Barbashev, Megan Cronin, Aleksandra Zharynskaia, Chloe Faulk, Kennedy Frk, Brittney Greiss, Kate Gallagher, Alina Zareinik, Melanie Krug, Amelia Hilbrands, Bianca Lane, Courtney McLaughlin, Emma Sulonen, Dayna O'Reilly, Alyssa Saad, Jess Surowiec, Kelsey Schenn, Yana Tarasenko, Jen Dumont, Polina Toropchenko, Tayla Walker, Dominique Pino, Amber Van Ryn, Erica Ott, Debbie MacTavish, Paula Seward, Gillyon Alexander, Kelly Armstrong.

Erica Ott, the wife of Blues Assistant Coach and former player Steve Ott, says it's a privilege to welcome and help people in the community. "The most precious thing we have to give is our time, and the unselfish effort to cheer others up is a powerful force. On behalf of myself and fellow St. Louis Blues Better Halves, we're honored to share our talent and creativity for positive changes and blessings."

Yana Tarasenko, Better Half of player Vladimir Tarasenko, says St. Louis has become their second home. "There are a very large number of families, people and kids with different needs. I'm happy to contribute to the St. Louis community and charities. Many think it's almost impossible to help everyone, but even doing small things, we make people smile and they have hope again."

Shannon Allen, the wife to former goalie Jake Allen, introduced the group to Stray Rescue STL. 

Hawthorn Leadership School For Girls was conceptualized by Mary Stillman, wife of the Blues owner, Tom Stillman. The charter/college preparatory school opened in 2015, and was introduced to the Better Halves group last year. Members indicated they look forward to continuing their mentorships with the students there, particularly with it being the first public, all-girls school in Missouri.

Kelly Armstrong, the wife of Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong, says energy coming from the Better Halves is admirable. "They truly care about the groups they're helping and touch the lives of those they're involved with. They always put the charity first."

Kelly adds, “I've had the privilege of working with so many giving, selfless ladies through my 14 years here. I’ve witnessed a wife come with her newborn to build a Halloween backdrop for the Trick-or-Treating Event for Children’s Hospital. I'm honored to be associated with such a remarkable group of women.”

Instagram:  stlblues_betterhalves

  • St. Louis Blues Better Halves