This is Our Team, Our Town Devils Army
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
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 Devils Army, Devils Fans, New Jersey, New Jersey Devils, Newark, NHL, Prudential Center, Stanley Cup Finals, Stanley Cup Playoffs, The Rock. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.