I'm sure you're all going to get a kick out of this, but this is 100% honest.
I am 32 years old, born and raised in Australia. When I was 10 or so, the first real person/band I liked was Bryan Adams. This moved to Bon Jovi, then I just moved on to heavy metal after that.
Anyway, during my massive Bon Jovi phase, and knowing he was from New Jersey, one day when I was 12 or 13, I went over to a friends house, and he had a NHL game on his Amiga.
We scrolled through teams, and not knowing any USA cities or anything hockey related at all, I had no idea who to pick.
So as I was scrolling through the list, I saw a team from New Jersey, and having the recognition from Bon Jovi, I chose them.
Years later when I got an Xbox (first ever console), and started getting hockey games, I just stuck with New Jersey (I am an extremely loyal person).
Anyways, internet in Australia finally got to a point, that in 2006 I realised I could try searching for games online and try and watch some. So I watched the end of the 2006 season and then the 2nd round playoff exit after sweeping the Rangers in the first round, and my love of hockey was properly born and since exploded.
I saw 3 Devils away games during the Cali 2010 road trip, revisited the USA in October 2012 with the hope the lockout would end before the season start. It didn't but I still visited for a fun and fantastic holiday (saw 3 Yankees games at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox to finish the regular season).
I am now about to pay for flights to visit again in January 2014 to see the Devils/Rangers outdoor game at Yankee Stadium and more than likely at least one or two more games at the Rock or elsewhere depending on scheduling.
I bleed red and black now, and I no longer care for Australian sports, hockey is in my blood.
As much as it hurts to lose my favourite player of the Devils, the fact i invested so heavily in him as a PLAYER, it will continue to hurt, but i will also continue to support Zach Parise as a PLAYER, and i will always support my TEAM, the New Jersey Devils.
I'm even considering getting a Zach Wild Jersey, on top of several other Devils jerseys to add to my collection. The fact that i got Parise's autographed college Sioux jersey reminds me it isn't just about me loving the Devils, it's admiring him for his playing style. And I wish him all the best with the Wild, although I do have my own opinions on the matter.
People in the USA and Canada may think that those of us that live outside of those countries don't care about hockey; today I wore a Devils T-shirt to work, with a Devils lanyard that is always on me, plus my newly acquired Devils Coveroo iPhone 4 case that I spent $50 to get from the USA to Australia - the same amount of Devils gear I wore for Game 6 - to come home from work and start watching game 7 after waiting 6 hours after the game finished to watch in its entirety, to break down in tears seeing Henrique score the winning goal.
The Devils mean more to me than most Australians will ever know; this series meant the world to me after feeling as devastated as any of you after watching that Carolina game 7; to watch that sudden 2OT winner by Henrique was just more than I could bear. It has been such an up and down series.
All I can ask for, and hope, in this world, is to see the Devils advance even further. I am meant to be saving for a holiday to New York/New Jersey for October (after which I should of been in March but life has some screwed up plans), but yet I just want to support this team.