This is Our Team, Our Town Devils Army

Devils Army 2012 Eastern Conference Finals

Photo Credit: New Jersey Devils

For the fifth time in franchise history the New Jersey Devils will be playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. I was fortunate enough to be at Game 7 of 2003 when the Devils won their most recent championship. I stood next to my Dad as the seconds ticked down and Gary Bettman walked out, grabbed Lord Stanley’s Cup and handed it off to Scott Stevens. If you ask me what my best Devils’ memory is, well without a doubt, it’s that game. Now, when you ask my father, he’s often quick to say watching me watching the Devils win the Cup. That always resonated with me.

Hockey is a sport built around family and community. Whether you’ve played it, watched it, or been involved at any level it’s quickly evident there’s a special sense of team and camaraderie with this sport that you just don’t see in the fans of other big four. Just look at the players after a goal is scored when they all hug each other in a pile. Where do you see that in other North American sports? In the stands after big games there are high fives, fist bumps, and hugs and cheers that pass on a feeling that just can’t be made into reality by anything other than a magical run deep into the Playoffs like we’re on right now.

Coming into this playoff season, I thought what my Dad would say about his favorite moments in Devils franchise lore being about me watching the team was just a fatherly thing to say. While I might not have any children of my own, I’m starting to fully grasp it this year. I understand that feeling of seeing other fans, and really the entire community of New Jersey and especially Newark embracing the magic that is hockey. As I go through Newark Penn Station every day to work in Manhattan, I see signs everywhere. People are wearing hats, pins, shirts, you name it. Businesses are offering specials for the games, ignoring their employees who might not be particularly productive this week, and most of all holding onto every bit of the special emotion this sport brings out.

There’s a special pride in where champions come from. It transcends the sport, those who play it, those who watch it, and it permeates into the communal ether. Tomorrow night might be the biggest night of these player’s lives, but let us not forget it’s the biggest night for us too, Devils Army. There are thirty teams in the NHL, sixteen make it to the playoffs, and two make it to the Finals, but only one is our team. So gather up your family, friends, or make friends with the people next to you in the arena or viewing party, because believe me, you’ll never forget where you were and who you shared this with.

We all better be proud of our team and loud for our team. Let those left-coast surfers know this is hockey town. That this is our hockey town. And if they want to stack up against the Devils, they’re going play through the hell we give them. They aren’t just facing the Devils, they’re facing the entire Devils Army. #JoinTheSwarm

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About CowbellSteve

My name is Steve. I'm a network engineer, Devils' Army General, decent hockey coach and pro shop employee, and a terrible race car driver. Lots of hats.

Posted on May 29, 2012, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, It's A Jersey Thing, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL, NHL Playoffs, Prudential Center, The Rock and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Love it Steve. Very true. Going to Devils games has brought my family together in a way nothing else ever could. I have made more close friends over the course of the past 2 seasons than I ever had in my past. If anyone has ever asked, I’ve always said that the best part of me becoming a Devils fan is the people I’ve grown close to as a result. Let’s all enjoy this incredible run together, and I hope we’ll all be crying and hugging each other with joy in the next couple weeks! (but if not, at least we all have each other, right?)

  2. I had the honour of seeing The Devils play a few times and yes, I followed them from the first days, I was disillusioned with the team I sometimes followed (Quebec), and New Jersey just sort of fell at my door (another story)! But, travel is a problem especially when you live in the UK!!! But, the last time I travelled to watch them was against the ‘Canes in the play-offs, (4-2 win at the Meadowland arena). All I can say is that those guys wouldn’t know me from a face in the crowd and yet, I was treated like a King. By everybody I met, So THANK YOU DEVILS, thank you to the people of New York and New Jersey for looking after me, adopting some Scottish bloke and making my world a better place. The gifts the team gave me are treasured and will be forever, but, the memories..? New Jersey to win game 5, 4-1 Love you all! Take care and be lucky>

  3. Love that last paragraph, lets give them hell!! My brother was at game 6 (so lucky!) and he said everyone around him was hugging each other! He just started doing it too. I remember being at game 4 in 1995 and doing the same thing. Hate the dumb fans jokes we get by other highly unsuccessful teams, we def are a Devils Army! Now lets give the Kings hell tomorrow night! Lets Go Devils!

  4. CowbellSteve

    Thanks for the comments guys.

    And Vinny – you know exactly what I’m talking about then! My Dad says the same thing about being at ’95 Game 4, and I guess that’s why he had so much fun watching me watch ’03 Game 7…

  5. Reblogged this on duanemartindesigns and commented:
    Almost there!! Let’s go Devils!

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