Find Me On:
Jersey City, NJ
Why The Devils?:
In October of 1993, I was a young 13 year old anxiously awaiting for my parents to return from 8th grade parent/teacher night. While I knew my grades were exemplary, I worried. To easy my nerves, I channel surfed through small amounts of channels on basic cable. I came across a SportsChannel free preview. And which team was featured that night? The New Jersey Devils. They had just got out to a great 4-0 start.
As a Latino, hockey was a different kind of sport. It always seemed taboo for a Latino to like something other than the norm. But when I heard the Devils goal horn at the old Brendan Byrne Arena, I got hooked. I jumped out of my couch and celebrated just like the players. I cheered as if I was sitting with other Devils fans. At that moment, I knew I found a new love. Hockey. The New Jersey Devils.
Oh…and while the Devils won that contest, I also made the Honor Roll.
Greatest Personal Memory:
(a game that was perhaps meaningless to others, but holds a special memory for you)
Fast forward to the spring of 1994, my New Jersey Devils qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a 3 seed for the first time in franchise history. They played two grueling series against Buffalo and Boston. However, their fate as a powerhouse was determined against their cross-river rivals, the New York Rangers. That season the Rangers stymied the Devils throughout the regular season. With a trip to the Stanley Cup finals on the line, the Devils would not allow the Rangers to steam roll through without a fight.
This epic series, in my opinion, is by far one of the greatest series in NHL history. The Devils did not die. They played through and even had the Rangers on the brink of elimination. But as we know Messier made a bold prediction. That bold prediction came to fruition in Game 6 and forced a decisive Game 7 back at MSG. A few days before Game 7, I came down with the measles. I was lifeless and too ill do anything, including school. However, I somehow managed to get to my couch for Game 7.
I remember going in and out of sleep, but happened to have woken up during the final seconds of the third period. As I witnessed Ranger fans’ reveling in their eventual trip to Stanley Cup Finals; and with tears in my eyes, I witnessed an ambitious team scramble Richter’s net. With 7.7 seconds Valeri Zelepukin did the impossible. He scored. The game was now tied. And I…well passed out due to my med’s. The very next morning first thing I did was look for my alarm clock. With a smile on my face I turned to WFAN to hear good news. Sadly, I did not receive any. MATTEAU! *SIGH* But that series and that year molded me into the hockey lovin’ Devils fan.
Greatest Team Memory:
The greatest team memory occurred in June of 1995. One year after their epic series against the Rangers. And only weeks after playing an abbreviated 48 game schedule due to the lockout the NJ Devils did the impossible. They defeated the heavily favored Detroit RedWings in FOUR.
Why does this memory seem to be the greatest? Many reasons…No one gave NJ a shot against Detroit. Detroit scored…and scored often. After the lockout the Devils looked sluggish. There thoughts of missing the playoffs. But they eventually qualified as a 5 seed. And lastly, reports circulated at Dr. McMullen looking to relocate the Devils to Nashville. If this was to occur, then let the team go in a blaze of glory.
After they won the cup in 95…New Jersey became 1. Everyone, no matter, of sports preference was a Devils fan. They represented my beloved state. They truly are “Jersey’s Team”. And as the story ends…they continue to play in Jersey.
What Makes YOU a Crazy Devils Fan?:
My cubicle is cluttered with NJ Devils souvenirs.
Favorite Current and Favorite All-Time Devil:
Zach Parise (Current). Neal Broten (Past)