Date With the Devil
N.J. became the team’s mascot in 1993 after numerous reports of a red figure leading chants at the former Brendan Byrne Arena. He revealed himself as the legendary New Jersey Devil and a die-hard hockey fan. Ever since his debut, NJ has been dancing in the stands, skating on the ice, and leading the Devils Army in cheering for the team.
His favorite part of a Devils game at The Rock is hearing the roar of the fans after a Devils goal and whenever he gets the chance to bring out the drum to start some cheers. But I was more interested in what N.J. is doing when not at The Rock?
Getting this sit-down with N.J. was very difficult as he makes over 200 charity appearances, assisting in fundraisers, skating at clinics, and helping out with the Street Devils team. But luck for me he took the interview in between instilling fear in opposing fans and donating blood with the Red Cross.
N.J. is a very down to earth Devil. He loves interacting with Devils fans and rowdying the fans rowdy to help the Devils win. He grew up playing hockey but often found it difficult to find proper equipment to fit his Devil size body.
What does N.J. like to eat? His favorite place to catch a bite is at local Newark deli, Hobby’s. The hot pastrami sandwich is one of his favorites but don’t expect him to ever order a Philly Cheesesteak. He always drinks Pepsi and his favorite dessert is Devil Dogs. What type of music does N.J. prefer? Anything he can dance to. He’s still waiting for Dancing with the Stars to give him a call.
His fellow mascot friends get together every All-Star Break to share stories and catch up on old times. Pranks are also part of the annual gathering. He shared some of his favorites like in 1998 they tied Detroit Red Wings mascot, Al the Octopus’ arms together, they stole the Buffalo Sabres mascot, Sabretooth’s false teeth and the legendary prank they pulled on the Canadiens mascot, Youppi, convincing him the All-Star Game was in Quebec not Colorado causing him to completely miss that game.
The Hall of Fame is something every mascot dreams of and N.J. hopes that day may come. When asked of his chances, he said he much rather focus on the fans and winning more Stanley Cups. Though, he admitted he would be the best looking bust in the Hall.
If he wasn’t the Devils mascot, what would he do? He is convinced he would be a male model, breakdance instructor or he would take up the family business in the Pine Barrens like his father.
The last question I asked N.J. was what is best part of his job. He said without hesitation it is working for the greatest fans in the world. I must say after conducting this interview I had a newfound respect for one of the greatest mascots ever.