Well on Friday June 20th I took a ride up to Newark for my first ever NJ Devils Draft Party at the Prudential Center. This was the first draft party to be hosted at the Devils new arena and I have to say it was fantastic and it was really made into a family event. Being the first draft party at the Prudential Center, the Devils were expecting possibly 1500 people, instead they played host to around FOUR THOUSAND! To all the nay sayers out there who said people wouldn’t come to Newark to the new arena, I have to say – I am very happy you were wrong.
Going to the party I really didn’t know what to expect. I left around 5:30, figuring I’d get up there at 6:30 , wondering if i would be one of the first people there and enter into basically an empty arena. Boy was I wrong about that one! Not only did I have to wait in line to enter the arena, when I got up the escalator there were hundreds of people lined up waiting for the autograph signings to begin. The lines extended from the one entrance of the Prudential Center to the other through the upper concourse area and this was still a half hour before the event was scheduled to begin!
Fun for the Whole Family with the New Jersey Devils
As I mentioned there was something for everyone during the party. The Devils opened up their practice rink so fans could bring their skates and enjoy the ice. The main ice was none existent, but the Devils had plenty of activities located down below in it’s place, such as inflatable attractions, a section set up to play street hockey and on hand were the various Devil team mascots – NJ Devils, Trenton Devils and Lowell Devils. They even had video game consoles set up so people could play video hockey – the Devils of course :), as well as air hockey tables. Needless to say, down below it was packed with people having a great time. Any Devils fan who didn’t attend, and even if you aren’t a Devils fan – you missed a GREAT time.
Mattias Tedenby Selected in First Round
Obviously the whole reason for the party was to celebrate the first 2008 draft pick for the Devils, And the first draft pick was — Mattias Tedenby of Sweden (I give a shoutout to my friend Jonathan in Stockholm – he should become even more of a Devils Fan now!) I just wanted to say to Mattias Tedenby – welcome to the New Jersey Devils!
newjerseydevils.com â€“ The Devils have selected forward Mattias Tedenby with their first-round pick, 24th overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Tedenby, 18, was ranked third among European players by Central Scouting. The native of Vetlanda, Sweden, played his first games (23) in Sweden’s elite league in January with the top team, HV 71, scoring six points (3-3-6) to finish third among junior-aged players playing in the League.
Listed at 5-10, 176 lbs., Tedenby had 20 points (10-10-20) playing for the HV 71 Junior team and was a key player on Sweden’s Under-18 team at the IIHF World Championships â€“ he tied for the team lead in points with eight (4-4-8) in six games.
New Jersey twice traded down in the opening round, dealing its 21st pick to Washington for the 23rd and 54th picks, then moving the 23rd pick to Minnesota in exchange for the 24th pick and a third-rounder in 2009.
Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb says:
“Mattias is excellent on every shift. He has outstanding speed, stick work and work ethic. He is small but fearless â€“ he takes hits and always comes back. He looks like a young Saku Koivu, he creates scoring chances with his outstanding skating and is very difficult to stop when he is at full speed. He has excellent balance and quick, smooth hands, but needs to improve on his defensive awareness.”
NJ Devils – the TRUE NJ Team!
I have to say – the NJ Devils are MY team for many reasons. One of the main reasons though – they are proud to call New Jersey home. They get involved with the state and they are now involved in working at changing the image of Newark. They take pride in their new home city – whereas before at the Meadowlands – they basically played in an arena surrounded by a parking lot. It really does bother me that a team so proud to be a NEW JERSEY team, has such a hard time competing with the NY Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers for New Jersey fans. Well in my opinion, New Jerseyans who root for either of those teams – I don’t really consider to be true New Jerseyans. I love the NJ Devils and always have, but since they took residence in Newark, and bought the Trenton Titans – now the Trenton Devils, my love for the team has even gotten stronger.
I hope that the Devils win the Stanley Cup this year, not just so they can get their name on it for the fourth time (unlike that loser team – the Rangers), but so we can have a ticker tape parade down the streets of Newark! Can you imagine the pride that it would instill in this wrongly looked down on city? Unlike our turncoat team, the “NY” Giants, they won’t have their parade across the river, the Devils will be proud to have it in the great city of Newark. The Devils hold their head up high about being a New Jersey team and don’t make any apologies for it. It was great when Lou gave the shout-out to all the fans at the Prudential Center and to Newark.
So here is the New Jersey Devils – the TRUE New JERSEY team! I wish you the best in the 2008/2009 season!