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What is your “Devils fan origin story”?


mfitz804
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Thought about this after @Nicomomentioned he had no connection to New Jersey and another thread. 
 

Mine couldn’t be simpler. My neighbor across the street was the first hockey fan I ever met. His mom‘s company had season tickets to the Devils. Frequently, those tickets would go unused, and when that happened, we would sometimes get them. I fell in love with the Devils and with hockey immediately. It was at that point that I started to play hockey, and shortly there after our area first got cable TV, and I was able to watch hockey.

It definitely stuck. Before the Devils, I was more of a baseball fan, and by the home run steroids controversy and those mid to late 90s strikes, interest in baseball whole but disappeared. I’ve been able to recover some of it, but not a lot.

How is it that you became a fan of our favorite team?

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I mentioned in that other thread that I liked the jerseys even before I knew much about the team, but Scott Stevens was really the main reason I started following the Devils originally. I got really into hockey right around 2000, and he quickly became my favorite player. Marty and the A-Line were also big draws. 

And while I didn’t personally have a connection to the NJ area, I would be lying if I said that also didn’t play a part. Kevin Smith’s View Askew universe, and The Sopranos also kind of endeared the area to me from afar. I’m a massive fan of both. But when people have asked me over the years (and boy have I been asked a lot) “why the Devils?” I usually just go with the simple answer that Scott Stevens was my favorite player when I first got really into hockey, and I’ve been a big Devils fan ever since. 

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I grew up a NY Football Giants and Nets fan but never paid any attention to hockey until the Devils made the playoffs for the first time in '87/'88 when I was a senior in high school.  I always wanted to support NJ sports teams (I loved the Generals too) but I didn't know anyone who followed hockey.  So it was a big deal when they first made the playoffs and I started following them slowly. It wasn't until I first played on my Sega EA Sports hockey in '91 or '92 that I actually started to understand the game and know the teams and players and became more of a hockey/Devils fan that culminated with the crushing loss to the rags in '94.  The next year was better though.

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1985. 6-year old me is flipping channels. I arrive on MSG Network, where there is a game being played on ice by men on skates wielding curved sticks, chasing after a black disc (a Rag game ironically enough). I immediately am transfixed by the action. The Play-by-play man (some guy I would later find out was named Sam Rosen) starts giving out of town scores. He says the words ‘New Jersey’- as in ‘New Jersey leads —— 3-2 in the 3rd period’. I don’t remember anything after ‘New Jersey’ though. I had been informed that there was a team that plays this awesome game, called ‘hockey’, that played in MY HOME STATE! I immediately asked my parents to take me to a game. They did. The rest is history. 

Edited by MadDog2020
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Devils fan from New York that was introduced to hockey and started playing at 6. My first game was I believe 1988 at the meadowlands and Sean Burke was the goaltender. The devils lost to the Toronto maple-leafs 3-1 but I was hooked and have been since. Shanahan, Kirk muller were also on the team then. I live for this team more than any other team. I love the Yankees and cowboys but not like I love this team. I’d give them up if I had to choose. 

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My grandmother had season tickets for her insurance company that my Father and I were able to use quite often during the 80's.   The Nordiques were technically my favorite team growing up (mostly for the uniforms) but I considered the Devils #2.  After the '88 run, I considered the Devils a very close second.  Over the next several years that eventually flipped and was finally cemented in fall '93, when I left north jersey and came to Philly for college and "home" meant that much more.  

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well growing up in Canada you generally love hockey naturally cause it's plugged right into your veins, its part of the culture so I always loved hockey but you're so young that you don't really have a team or even understand the concept at time, you just watch wtv you can and i remember having stickers of all teams on all my stuff.

So i started playing pretty early and when I turned 8 in 1992 and after awhile i decided that i'd really love to be a goalie. RDS, the french sports channel had an episode or wtv on Brodeur making his NHL debut (since he's french and from Quebec, a first round pick, etc etc) and he was a french, top prospect goalie so it caught my attention.

And i don't know. There's not always a whole lot of thought process that goes into a decision when you're 8 years old lol Must have thought the Devils was a cool name or wtv and different from what all my friends and family we're rooting for so i just.. decided this was going to be my team.

I loved Lemieux and Jagr too, so that's why i always said growing up my 2nd fav team were the Pens. And if it wasn't that i wanted to be a goalie and that it made me lean towards Marty and the Devils... i might have ended up a Pens fan. Also, if Sudden Death with Van Damme would have come out in like 1992. That might have sealed the deal too lol

Gotta say, it was a pretty good decision. Marty turned into a legend and for most of my life my team was always in the playoffs. And back then around here, i could only watch the Devils when they'd play MTL or during the playoffs. and that was all before the internet. So It's only later when games became more available on TV and eventually online that i was really able to start following the team more

Edited by SterioDesign
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I started watching hockey as a kid in the '60s. There was always a Rangers game on Channel 9 Saturday nights.  I learned the game watching guys like Harry Howell, Rod Gilbert and Boom Boom Geoffrion. My other three favorite teams, the Mets, Knicks and Jets all won championships in 1969-70 and I'll bet if the Rangers won a cup back then I would have been a Ranger fan for life.

Didn't work out that way though and as the '70s rolled on I was confused when they traded away Park and Ratelle for Esposito and Vadnais, and then I had it when they stupidly traded an up and coming star like Rick Middleton just to reunite Espo with his washed up linemate Ken Hodge. By this time I was in college and it seemed like the Islanders were always on tv and very easy to root for, and I became a fan. Great times watching guys like Chico Resch, Eddie Westfall and Andre St Laurent as I got to experience the ride from expansion team to champion just like with the Mets a decade earlier.

But it was John MacLean's playoff clinching goal in the last game of the 1988 regular season that got me into the Devils, a team I had been following for a few years, being a Jersey guy. During that playoff ride, all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, with Sean Burke in goal and Jim 'Have Another Doughnut' Schoenfeld behind the bench, I was hooked and never looked back. 

Since then it's been a fantastic ride. Three championships highlighted by my all time favorite moment of Patrik Elias digging the puck out of the corner and putting it on the stick of Jason Arnott to win the 2000 Stanley Cup. I love taking in a game at the Prudential Center and the way things are going now I believe there are more good times ahead.

 

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As an european... And especially as a French (where hockey is really low in culture, exposition etc... )  It wasn't a easy bridge to link with NHL and the Devils.

I started watching hockey during the Olympics of Nagano in 1998 and felt in love with the game, the intensity, the pace, the technic, rules etc... And the Czech team was insane and i felt for it. 
I decide to start looking for a team to follow in the NHL. I could have roots for Pittsburg as they had the post Czech players at this time but come on... a Pingouin ?! As a die hard Metal head ... The name Devil rings some bells ; ) 

So a cool name (ok i've learn since that it's not the cool guy down below but a swamp creature.. nevermind it was too late when i discover the truth ! )
An awesome logo
Perfect Jersey
3 Czech players .... 

And after only few games... I couldn't stop loving Scott Niedermayer. That was it. Then Scott Stevens (he talks a lot to my barbarian metalhead). 
Since year one, and the quarter-finals against Pittsburg (and Jagr .. aaaargh), i knew the bridge was burned ! I didn't choose at first instinct the penguins and I was even more a dev's fan after that serie ! 

And as a really lucky guy, i just had to wait for two seasons for "my" first Stanley 

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I grew up in Poconos and there was not much hockey around there. The Wilkes-Barre Pens didn't move to the area until I was already in High School. I loved watching hockey but didn't have a team for years and decided I needed a team. I think it was the start of the 1993-94 season. I lived 2 hours from NYC and 2 hours to Philly. I could never root for a new york team for what ever reason I had that rule. I was eh about the Flyers. So I looked at the standing and picked the Devils. Still localsih and the underdog. Boy did I make a great decision that day!

When I was really young the Detroit Tigers were my baseball team because my cat's name was Tiger and Jack MOrris was like named after the cat. 

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Since I've already told it, I'll summarize:

Parents got freebies to a Devils-Flyers game at BBA in December 1983, when I was 13 years old, so they took me and my younger bro.  Thanks to the power of the web, I was able to track it down to this game:

Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils Box Score — December 10, 1983 | Hockey-Reference.com

Was actually close through 2 periods (Devils trailed 3-2 heading into the third)...that I do remember, the game being close for a while (and my dad being surprised, because he told me in not so many words that the Devils were pretty sh!tty).  I also remember them falling behind very early, and then tying things up.  When the Flyers made it 6-2 fairly late into the final period, my dad said "OK, we're going."

Something about hockey instantly clicked with me, and being that the Devils were the first local team that I ever saw in person AND called my state home, that was that...somehow during that game, they simply became "my" team.  Been a fan ever since.  Hard to believe that was almost 39 years ago...Jesus H.  

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I lived in upstate New York and my dad worked in Ramsey, NJ. He went to a Devils game at some point in the late 80’s and brought me home a pennant in the old green and red. I thought it was cool but knew nothing about sports. Fast forward a few years, I’m 11 or 12 and my parents say my brother and I can pick out Starter jackets from the mall for Christmas. My brother gets a red white and black Bulls one. I love the colors but don’t want the same jacket. Of course I come across a black and red Devils one, recognize the logo and immediately choose it, still knowing nothing about hockey.  Eventually I’m playing NHL 93 with my cousin. There’s the Devils logo again, so I choose them and something starts to click. I like this. I start looking at scores in the paper and kind of following along, learning players etc. Sometimes I can find some hockey on TV. I’m a very casual Devils fan.

Then 1994 happens. Since I wore a Devils jacket all winter and was the only Devils fan deep in Rag country, when the playoffs rolled around every Ranger fan in the school was all over me. I went from casual fan to absolute die-hard over those 7 games and when someone shoved a Matteau headline in my face the morning after game 7, I knew all I wanted was to see my team win. That’s why 1995 will always be my favorite cup.

I absolutely fell in love with hockey after that.  I eventually played street, floor, and recreational roller hockey and did everything I saw Brodeur do except I did it way slower and less athletically and with no discernible talent. But damn it was a lot of fun until I threw out my back and retired at 28 after a hall of fame 15 year career. It’s been 13 years and I still miss it. I still have my equipment in storage just in case haha. Never had the heart to throw it out. 

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I've told this story before. I grew up a Ranger fan.  I'm old 😛 no Devils in existence then. My friend (who was new to hockey and a Devils fan) wanted to go a game. To satisfy both of our fandoms we chose a Devils Rangers game at Continental Airlines Arena. (We lived about 3 miles from CAA) I'm there in my Starter Ranger Jacket😮 and I notice it was about 16000 to 3000 Ranger Fans to Devil Fans in attendance.  This was in the mid 80's '85 '86 or '87 I'm too lazy to look it up. The Rangers jump to a 5-0 lead.  Of course the Ranger fans are being extremely nasty to the Devil fans.  I told my friend "These guys are way over the line. i'm ashamed of these fans and I feel sorry for the Devils fans.  I hope the Devils come back and beat the Rangers to shut these f'n idiots up!) Well of course the Devils did beat them 6-5 in OT. Been a Devil fan ever since! (Side note: I went home and buried that Ranger jacket deep in my spare hockey equipment bag. [I was a goalie so it was a regular bag and not my goalie bag] Where it remained for several years eventually to be donated to old clothes.) Another part of this story I then wanted to get partial season tickets.  So the following season or next I call up the Devils and ask: "if I get these tickets do I get access to playoff tickets?" The ticket rep laughed at me! (The Devils were never in the playoffs at that point) Of course the Devils make the playoffs that season and go to conference finals. That Patrick Division banner from  that year still has fond memories for me.

Edit: The game might be from November 2, 1985

Edited by Rock
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Grew up watching Football and baseball for the most part. Dad won some tickets to a devils game in around 87. I remember liking it but I wasn’t hooked yet. 
 

A couple of years later I became good friends with a kid who moved from NYC (rags fan). He played hockey both on the ice and roller hockey. I got a pair of roller blades and my gear kept building from there. Eventually playing playing on ice for Cranford’s recreational team at the time. Midget B team so I wasn’t good. went to a couple of summer camps at the Ice Palace in Brick.
 

Became a Devils fan that way. Already had been to a Devils game and had no interest in rooting for the Rags especially since my new friend was a wise ass and it’s fun to be rivals with friends.
 

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My Father had split season tickets for the Flyers in the late 70's.........up in that upper ring     (If you remember the old Spectrum, it was way up there)

I saw some GREAT teams back then, the Habs, the Isles, yes even the Rags were pretty darn good then.

I rooted for whoever was playing the Flyers

I rooted for the Isles then and when the Devs came I started watching them but didn't make the switch until '85 when I went to my first Devs game.

Been die hard ever since. 

Was at Sundstrom's 8 point game versus the Caps in '88

Saw a multitude of PAINFUL playoff losses 

Was at both SC wins at home

Can thank BCDevil for the '03 win after I hooked him up with an ECF game ticket versus then Sens 

(Where has BCDevil gone?)

HAVE ALWAYS HATED THE RAGS

 

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Cool thread idea. 

My cousin and uncle were huge hockey fans and huge rangers fans. Took me to a Devils/Rangers game in 1996? My cousin wants to see the rangers warm up so we walk down and wait by the tunnel. Oops, wrong side of the rink. Too late to change so we get high fives from the Devils instead. My hand gets stuck in Terreri’s glove and it rips off of him. He makes some sort of a joke. I think he’s my literal hero oh my god he’s talking to me. Devastated that some other loser #30 is playing instead of him. Devils lose but I’m obsessed.

If we go see the Rangers warm up instead I’m probably a Rangers fan. I loved being a contrarian with my cousin, too — so it was fun to really lean into it. 

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After having been to many Islander games (as our elementary school had many isles nights, and me and my brother were already playing hockey), I went solo with my dad to an isles devs game.  It was the combo of Steven's and brodeur that sold me, and the fact that red white and black were the colors of my town.  Since then, much to his disliking, I became a big devils fan,even though I live here on the island.  

There's more devils fans here on the island then you would think. 

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October 12, 1996, when I was 12.  A home game verse the Dallas Stars that the Devils lost 4-2.

https://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/199610120NJD.html

My first girlfriend's family was really into hockey.  They had 2 seats on the glass and two in the lower level.   They took me to the game and I got to sit on the glass for the 2nd period, first and only time.
I was hooked then and watched most games, gradually becoming a die hard fan.    A good period to start fandom :)

Thanks Kristan!

Edited by aylbert
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It was April 30, 1988.  I just got home from playing baseball with some friends.  We only had one t.v. at the time and my dad was watching hockey.  I asked, “why are you watching that?”  He said, “I was going through the channels and stop here.”  It was game 7, division series against the Caps.  I was a huge baseball fan, but I sat down to watch.  I never gave hockey a chance before this game.  It was only about the Yankees.  It was the most exciting sporting event I ever watched.  It was fast, non-stop action, there were guys crashing into each other!  It was incredible!  I instantly fell in love with the game and the Devils.  After that, baseball was too slow and found myself dozing off after an inning and a half.

Let’s go Devils!

fvck Gaudreau!  He’ll never win a cup!  Yeah, I said it!

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11 hours ago, Puckbuster said:

It was April 30, 1988.  I just got home from playing baseball with some friends.  We only had one t.v. at the time and my dad was watching hockey.  I asked, “why are you watching that?”  He said, “I was going through the channels and stop here.”  It was game 7, division series against the Caps.  

My last semester at College. This had to have been a Saturday because after being at the Sundstrom game............ and watching the first 6 games (what a whacky series).......I was working an Equestrain Event (horse jumping) and was frantically trying to listen to Game 7 on the radio. Don't think I found it

Great MacLean goal and GREAT win that night!

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8 minutes ago, Jimmy Leeds said:

My last semester at College. This had to have been a Saturday because after being at the Sundstrom game............ and watching the first 6 games (what a whacky series).......I was working an Equestrain Event (horse jumping) and was frantically trying to listen to Game 7 on the radio. Don't think I found it

Great MacLean goal and GREAT win that night!

Speaking of the Caps, I went to this game (at the Cap Centre...looked like a Pringle from the outside...dark, dingy place):

New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals Box Score — April 1, 1989 | Hockey-Reference.com

This was the one and only sporting event that I went to that I was actually afraid...18-year-old me (6' 1", 150 lbs soaking wet with a questionable mullet) was quite nervous.  The Cap faithful remembered the previous season (and Langway's injury during the playoffs) and they were all over the Devils from the first minute...lots of "DEVILS SUCK!" and "FLUUUUUKE!" chants, and general anger.  That energy seemed to carry over to the ice...in a night full of penalties (over 170 minutes of 'em), Scott Stevens beat the absolute snot out of poor Pat Verbeek...as Verbeek came off the ice (he got 19 minutes' worth of penalties in a multi-player scrum, which led to he and Stevens facing off), a couple of Caps fans doused him with beer...to security's credit, they jumped on those fans and quickly threw them out.  I was wearing a Devils cap and made the mistake of cheering when the Devils took a 3-2 lead...I realized if I did it again, I was going to get killed.  Between periods, a couple of fairly intimidating dudes were following me around the concourse...they ultimately left me alone, but the Caps fans that day were largely scary...at least to my 18-year-old eyes.   

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My story is kind of long.

I grew up in NC during the '60s and '70s (long before the Hurricanes came along). I never saw a hockey game until I went to college and my roommates and I subscribed to cable. One day I happened onto a game on one of the cable channels, and I was completely transfixed. It was the first time a sporting event ever interested me in any way. I didn't know anything about the game at all, but that didn't matter to me in the least. It was fascinating. From that point forward I started looking for games whenever I could find them, but in those days in NC, they were few and far between.

Several years after college, my job took me to Lancaster, PA, and suddenly I could see all the Flyers games I could handle, and a lot of Penguins games, too. This was during the days of Lemieux and Yagr. Anyway, I was able to watch much more regularly, and I started learning more about it. But even so, I didn't really have any team loyalty. I just loved the game.

In 2003, my job brought me to NJ, and then in 2006 when the Hurricanes were in --and eventually won-- the playoffs, of course my family in NC was pretty wild about it, and my wife caught their enthusiasm. In a big way. At that point I said to her, "listen, if you really like hockey, we live within easy distance of three or four great teams." So the next season we watched every Rangers game and every Devils game, and went to a few as well. For the first couple years we stuck with both teams. Over time, we were gravitating toward the Devils anyway, but when the Rangers hired Sean Avery, who we hated, and then they got Tortorella, who we (especially my wife) don't like, and then they got Avery a second time, we dropped them. Next thing you know we were Devils season ticket holders for 7 years. I guess we still would be, but again I've had to move for my job, and although we're still in Jersey, it's just way too far to drive, especially during the week.

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3 hours ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

Speaking of the Caps, I went to this game (at the Cap Centre...looked like a Pringle from the outside...dark, dingy place):

New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals Box Score — April 1, 1989 | Hockey-Reference.com

This was the one and only sporting event that I went to that I was actually afraid...18-year-old me (6' 1", 150 lbs soaking wet with a questionable mullet) was quite nervous.  The Cap faithful remembered the previous season (and Langway's injury during the playoffs) and they were all over the Devils from the first minute...lots of "DEVILS SUCK!" and "FLUUUUUKE!" chants, and general anger.  That energy seemed to carry over to the ice...in a night full of penalties (over 170 minutes of 'em), Scott Stevens beat the absolute snot out of poor Pat Verbeek...as Verbeek came off the ice (he got 19 minutes' worth of penalties in a multi-player scrum, which led to he and Stevens facing off), a couple of Caps fans doused him with beer...to security's credit, they jumped on those fans and quickly threw them out.  I was wearing a Devils cap and made the mistake of cheering when the Devils took a 3-2 lead...I realized if I did it again, I was going to get killed.  Between periods, a couple of fairly intimidating dudes were following me around the concourse...they ultimately left me alone, but the Caps fans that day were largely scary...at least to my 18-year-old eyes.   

Langway's injury was a clear accident. Pretty awful though

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When I was younger I saw the Devil's lift the cup on a programme called Trans World Sport and that got me interested. Then a few years later I watched a game on terrestrial TV which was between Carolina and the Devil's. Scott Stevens hit someone and I was hooked from that point on. 

Its always been tough following hockey. None of my family are into it (my two cousins are massive NFL fans, but can't convince them to give hockey a try). I have tried to get friends into it, but football (soccer) is always everyone priority ( I am a life long Chelsea supporter , it's engrained in my family back nearly 100 years now), so its hard to get anyone to commit to anything other than that. 

This place has been my sanctuary since I found it. This is where I feel most connected to the team and Jersey in general. 

One of the highlights of my life was coming to New York and New Jersey in 2016. Setting foot in the Rock and seeing two wins ( @Bonginator11 I will always be greatful to you for the two tickets you gave me, you basically made a dream come true, so thanks again). 

I am now trying to get my two boys into it. So I might finally have someone to enjoy the game with. 

 

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38 minutes ago, Chimaira_Devil_#9 said:

One of the highlights of my life was coming to New York and New Jersey in 2016. Setting foot in the Rock and seeing two wins ( @Bonginator11 I will always be greatful to you for the two tickets you gave me, you basically made a dream come true, so thanks again). 

I am now trying to get my two boys into it. So I might finally have someone to enjoy the game with. 

 

Dude you’re welcome! It was my pleasure to give you the tickets. Glad you got to see them win😃

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