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State Of The Devils Army Generals – One Year

Devils Army in the Digital ZoneMr. Vanderbeek, Mr. Lamoriello, Mr. Krezwick, members of the third floor, my fellow Generals.

Today, I have the honor (which I gave myself) of reporting to you on the State of the Generals.

It’s hard to believe that the Devils Generals program has been around for over a year now. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were all in a room, not quite sure of what we were doing there or what to expect from the awesome opportunity that was being given to us. As the Generals program was something no other sports franchise had done, we were all new to this. However, every person in that room was excited.

It was no surprise (okay, maybe it was a bit surprising) that the team, after a 9-22-5 start to last season, began a 22-5 run on the day our Generals Twitter account was created and finished the season 27-13. They were as excited about this as we were!

From the launch of Mission Control on February 16th of last year, right up to our latest giveaway on Twitter and everything we have done in between, it has all been a tremendous, and sometimes surprising, success.

My fellow Devils fans, I blog before you today to report that the state of our program is strong.

I’d like to briefly review our first year and then talk a little bit about what can be expected from us going forward.

As with any great, original idea, there have been some bumps in the road during our first year. We don’t always see eye to eye on every issue. We have seen some people go, and there have been some new people added.

What we all agree on is that we are all fans, and we want to be the voice of other fans who can’t be in Mission Control with us. We all bring the voice of the fan, as a whole, to the team.

Make no mistake, if you ever bring an idea to us, whether it’s through Twitter, Facebook, this blog, or in person, it will be brought to the team. We are always listening and are always looking for new ways to improve the fan experience.

Our first successful project was the start of the #Devils1stGoal guesses on Twitter (something I can proudly say I started… with a little help from the Islanders and their first goal guess idea).

Through the first goal guess contest on Twitter, we have gone from a handful of guesses a game to over 200 guesses for each game. The correct guessers have gone from receiving shoutouts, to getting some cool prizes, including game tickets!

We’ve sent prizes out to all corners of the US. It’s only a matter of time before we send out  prizes to some members of the Devils Army overseas, fans that interact with us on a daily basis.

We have put together and hosted quite a few viewing parties throughout New Jersey during our first year, the latest one being at Simko’s Grill in Brielle last weekend. They have all been quite successful, with each one growing as we’ve gone along. Special guests have included Ken Daneyko, Jim Dowd, Grant Marshall and others.

We’ve had some great giveaways at these events and as they grow, so to will the giveaways, prizes, and guests.

Our next viewing party will take place on February 7th at Texas-Arizona in Hoboken. We then return to Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Edison on February 27th for our second viewing party at that location this season.

These viewing parties are only successful if fans attend and enjoy them. Everyone is welcome to attend any of the viewing parties and, as always, is free to suggest a location and bring ideas and suggestions to us.

This blog has grown tremendously since our first post. You can find game previews, recaps, player profiles, and stories on breaking news. We have conducted interviews with WFAN statistician JohnCarl Ziegler, the Zam Crew, the Diablos 122, Ken Daneyko and others. Oh, I almost forgot… there was also the time General Chrissy Baptista got to interview Zach Parise.

Our Devils Generals Facebook page has also grown quickly, with 618 likes as of today.

We have set up Satellite Mission Control at the Digital Zone behind section 17 at The Rock. At every home game, you can find a few of the Generals manning the Twitter and Facebook accounts from there. Anyone is welcome to come and see what we do at any time.

During our first year, we have been written about in ESPN, Huffington Post, ClickZ, Simply Zesty, NY Times, USA Today and many others. A recent article in the Sports Business Journal highlighted how Mission Control has brought in a new kind of revenue for the team.

Mission Control was also selected as a finalist for the PRWeek “Arts, Entertainment & Media Campaign of the Year” award.

Now, what we have planned going forward.

Besides our planned and yet-to-be-planned viewing parties (we’ll be setting up playoff ones, of course), our next big event is our road trip to Long Island. This will be the first time the Generals get a group of the Devils Army together for a road game. If it’s as successful as we think it will be (there are only a few tickets left!), then others will definitely be planned.

We have some other exclusive interviews lined up. As our JohnCarl Ziegler and Zam Crew interviews have shown, we’ll be bringing you some things you’re not likely to find anywhere else. We enjoy giving you a look at some of the people who may be overlooked, but make game day a great experience.

We will also be at the AHL All-Star weekend for some updates!

Being at the AHL All-Star game, along with bringing some of our viewing parties to south Jersey, are some of the ways the Generals are bringing an awareness to everything our state, along with our hockey team, has to offer.

The Generals come from all over the state (and some from out-of-state). While we are all New Jersey Devils fans and this program concentrates on the team and what we can do to bring all of the fans closer together, we’re also committed to highlighting the great things the organization does throughout New Jersey.

You’ll find us talking about other events at Prudential Center. You’ll probably also find us posting about events that we feel are important to the city of Newark and the State of New Jersey.

We look forward to many more years of interacting with the best fans in the world and, more importantly, we look forward to hearing from you as to what we can do to make things even better!

LET’S GO DEVILS!

Devils Army at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville

Kim at Bridestone Arena, Nashville
As many of you following the blog are aware, fellow General, Jaime organized a group trip to Nashville so we could watch the Devils take on the Predators. If you ever have the opportunity to go, Nashville is a great destination for hockey!

The Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators, is a beautiful, huge arena, with a great view from any seat. When you buy tickets, you can even choose a package that includes an all-you-can-eat buffet of arena food. With a variety of options such as soda, pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, hotdogs and nachos there’s sure to be something for everybody. If you are part of the 21 and over set, they also offer an “adult” option which includes beer. The staff there are friendly and helpful, directed us when we were lost or just said hello and welcomed us to their city as we passed by.

As if all of that isn’t enough, the atmosphere during game time is incredibly fun. I am not certain if it is only an opening night event, or part of every game, but there was a live band playing all night. For opening night introductions, their cheerleaders skated out with a giant Nashville Predators flag, and danced and cheered. Gnash, the predators Saber-tooth tiger mascot, dropped in from the ceiling and the players all entered the ice through a giant Saber-tooth Tiger head!

The crowd knows how to have a good time, and they are loud and proud of it. Bring your sense of humor to Nashville (aka “Smashville”) because they do taunt the visiting team- loudly and in unison. All of it is in good humor though, and as a Nashville fan told me “Sure, we’ll tease you, but we’ll take you out for drinks afterward.” I definitely got teased, but everyone was smiling and pursuing friendly conversation. Many of the Predators fans we met were amazed we drove 15 hours for a hockey game, and all of them welcomed us to their city and hoped we were having an enjoyable visit.

Enjoy we did, as the Devils gave us a great performance, overcoming a 2 goal deficit to win in the shoot out. After listening to the arena taunt our players throughout the game, it felt great to see them fight back for the win! We had a big celebration up in our section with high fives, cheers of “MOOOOOOOOSE!”, “KO-VY!”, “Captain Zach” and “Let’s Go Devils” that I’m told could be heard on the telecast!

All of that just describes our game day experience. As you know if you followed Jaime or myself on Twitter, there was a lot of great sight seeing and activity within Tennessee. I was fortunate enough to fit in a visit to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, which gives free walking tours to the public, and a visit to downtown Nashville where there are tons of places to eat, and live performances of country music to enjoy. Right next to the arena is the Country Music Hall of Fame as well, which offers a look at the history of country music and displays hundreds – probably thousands – of items from the genre’s greatest artists.

If you drive from New Jersey, the scenery is gorgeous, and we were fortunate to have sunny, temperate weather during our visit. If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend the trip. I would return in a heart beat!

This is the third arena outside of New Jersey that I have visited. I have a long way to go to catch up to Jaime, but I’m open to suggestions for my next trip!

So, Devils Army, where have you gone and what was your favorite part about your trip? Let us know in the comments!

One-on-One with Zach Parise

Zach Parise Media Day InterviewI have lived the ultimate Devils fan dream. I got to interview Zach Parise. One on one, Zach and me… and a few camera guys. It was awesome! Zach was at the Prudential Center with a bunch of other big name hockey players the NHL Media Tour filming commercial spots and taking promo photos. They managed to squeeze some time in for me to ask him a few questions on behalf of the Devils Army.

With the help of the other Generals, I came up with a list of questions I would ask Zach. I shook off the nerves, tried to tame the excitement and went for it. Check out our quick Q&A, you might be surprised at some of his answers.

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Devils Generals Fantasy Hockey League

With the start of the season upon us, some of the Generals decided it was time to prove which one would be best at giving Lou Lamoriello a run for his money as best GM in hockey. Since there weren’t 20 teams willing to let a bunch of random people take over General Manager duties, we decided to start a fantasy hockey league instead.

On Sunday, September 25th, the Generals conducted their draft. There was already some trash-talking during the draft and that is sure to continue as the season gets under way.

The league consists of 20 teams, with 16 starters (3 C, 3 LW, 3 RW, 5 D, 2G) per team. There are six bench players per team.

Each week teams will go head-to-head against each other. There are four divisions – the Brodeur, Stevens, Daneyko and Niedermayer divisions – and the four division winners plus four wild-card teams will make the playoffs. Playoffs take place during the last three weeks of the season.

There were quite a few surprises during the draft (Hedberg going in the 2nd round, 28th overall… a full round before Brodeur) and, of course, Devils players were taken quickly. Adam Henrique was taken before Rick Nash, Patrick Sharp, Matt Duchene, John Tavares, Danny Briere and 388 other players.

Overall, every team seems to have its strengths and weaknesses. Some teams should rack up points in the offensive categories (G, A, +/-, PIM, PP Points, SH Points, SOG, Faceoff Wins, Hits, Blocked Shots), while others should dominate the goalie categories (W, GAA, Saves, S%, SO).

Below is a list of all the teams and their rosters. You can comment below to let us know who you feel will win it all. Who knows… the supporters of the winning team may be rewarded at the end of the season!

You can also follow the generals involved on Twitter, as trash-talking on there should escalate as the wins and losses pile up.

To view the standings and what division each team is in, go to the league page here:
http://hockey.fantasysports.yahoo.com/league/devilsgenerals

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2011-2012 Kick-Off Party at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Anthony's Coal Fired PizzaIt’s finally October! The Devils Generals joined a ton of other fans at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Edison to celebrate and kick-off the season.

The fans took over Anthony’s and ate up! Anthony’s set us up with some great food and drink specials. Between the wings, ribs and speciality pizza’s, there was plenty of food going around. Oh and I forgot about the sausage and peppers plates and flatbread. Needless to say, we were stuffed.

Our very own Jim Dowd stopped by and was happy to take pictures and sign autographs. A Patrik Elias bobblehead and an autographed Travis Zajac stick were raffled off in addition to our table of giveaways for everyone who stopped by.

There was a great turn out with plenty of red flowing through the doors and Devils stamped cars in the parking lot. Fans mingled with other fans, talked about what they expected out of the Devils this season and how excited they were for opening night. Some fans just talked about how excited they were for Jim Dowd, and that’s cool too. Thanks to everyone who joined us, see you on Saturday for Opening Night!

Check out more photos on our Flickr.

Feeding An Army: Stay tuned!

Fans at McGoverns

You’re getting ready to go to a Devils game and you’re wondering, “Where can I go eat or have a drink before the game?” Well, look no further than the Devils Army Blog!

With the new season just around the corner, we’re going to tour the city of Newark and blog about local spots that you can visit before heading over to the game. We’re going to feature one or two a month, maybe more depending on how many we can come up with. We have a few ideas of our own, but we’d love to hear from the fans on places we should visit. If you have a place in mind let us know through the blog, TwitterFacebook or even email us!

First stop, Hell’s Kitchen Lounge!

When: October 8th, 2011 (Opening Night!)
Where: 150 Lafayette Street
Distance from The Rock: .3 miles

*We’re doing this out of the goodness of our hearts and our bellies. We are not advertising for, being sponsored by or accepting free meals from any of these locations.


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