When I sat down to wrote this post, I started thinking of all the reasons why someone looking to pick an NHL team to root for should be a Devils fan. I soon realized it would be easier to come up with a list of reasons not to be a fan, because that would be a very short list. But in keeping with the theme of PickMyNHLTeam.com, here are my reasons why anyone should be a New Jersey Devils fan.
Let’s start with the history. Some people will argue that since the team only moved to NJ and became the Devils in 1982, there isn’t much history. I would then point them in the direction of teams who entered the league before 1982 and have not yet had their name etched on the Stanley Cup. As a matter of fact, since the Devils began play in the ‘82-’83 season, only the Edmonton Oilers (5) and the Detroit Red Wings (4) have won more cups than the 3 won by the Devils. The Devils history doesn’t only include cup wins, as they are well on their way to their 13th consecutive appearance in the playoffs, and 20th in 22 seasons. My point? Past history is nice, but jumping in while it’s happening is better.
If rooting for individual players is what you’re looking for, you have to look no further than the man that has stood in net for the last 17 seasons, and just a few nights ago added yet another record to his growing list… Martin Brodeur. The all-time leader in, well, just about every goalie statistic there is, Brodeur is the type of player you make sure you go see when he is in town. While he is at the tail end of his future hall of fame career, Zach Parise is just entering his prime and is already one of the best forwards in the entire league. You say it’s former players you enjoy hearing about? How about one of the most intimidating defenseman ever to play the game.. Scott Stevens, who is now behind the bench as an assistant.
Even something fans of most teams don’t ever think about, their play-by-play guy, is one of the reasons someone should be a Devils fan. Mike “Doc” Emrick is, without a doubt, one of the best hockey play-by-play guys there are. He is so good that most fans are actually disappointed when they learn he is not doing the game. There aren’t too many guys that make you tune in to a game just to hear them do play-by-play of your favorite team. Doc Emrick is at the top of that list.
If you really like getting into the team and following all the off-season moves, the signings, the drafting of new players…why not follow along with arguably the best GM in hockey, if not all of sports, Lou Lamoriello. The Devils have had all of their success because of the work done by Lamoriello since he joined the franchise. The late 1st/later round draft picks he has found (Scott Gomez- 1st round, 27th pick; Zach Parise – 1st, 17th; Brian Gionta – 3rd, 82nd; Patrick Elias – 2nd, 51st; Martin Brodeur – 1st, 20th) have had a direct effect on what this team has done.
Rivalries? You can argue that the Devils / Rangers rivalry is one of the best there is. It turns best friends into the worst of enemies on game day. Need more? Well, with the Flyers and Islanders both being within short driving distance of the Devils arena, a big rivalry game is always something you will always be a part of.
Speaking of the arena, did I forget to mention the brand spanking new arena the team plays in, the Prudential Center (aka “The Rock”)? Yeah, we have that too. You’ll hear fans of other teams talk about how the Devils can’t fill the arena. In all honesty, that’s all they have. But I’ve always thought quality is better than quantity. The Devils fans are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate I have ever been around. Being a part of the ever-growing group of fantastic Devils fans, who follow a team that contends for the Stanley Cup championship year in and year out, is reason enough to be a fan of the team.
Besides, Kevin Smith is a die-hard Devils fan! Beat that!
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