Status at the Rock

Few things make me feel that overly excited feeling in my stomach that makes me giddy. Getting to the top of Nitro (a roller coaster at Six Flags amusement park) and not being able to see the track under you. Counting down the seconds to the final horn of the season knowing Lord Stanley’s cup is down the hall waiting to come out to your team. Running down the steps Christmas morning to see what Santa has left under the tree…


In any event, that excited feeling is how I feel when I see this picture:

Only 12 days left until the Prudential Center opens its doors to New Jersey Devils fans.

Give it a year or two and we’ll probably dread having to pay the train fair to get there, but when I think of having to cross 5 lanes of traffic in a matter of feet in order to make the exit for the parking garage the state has decided to erect in the middle of nowhere, not to mention the 78,345 other construction projects going on that now completely surround our beloved Brendan Byrne Arena, I don’t feel so bad.

It is sad knowing that our home for 25 years, the original location of 3 Stanley Cup victories, will soon remain quiet for most nights. Sure some concerts will occur inside the now-branded Izod Center (hmm, wonder why they went with a name that ended in “Center”), and maybe an occasional circus. But once the Nets depart, it may not be worth it to keep it up.

For now I am left wondering if the move will bring more fans to the games. The Devils have been notorious for poor attendance, but will a new venue revitalize the fan base and persuade those who’d rather hear Doc’s great voice to go outside and join thousands of fans around a slab of ice?

I like to go to a game a month, personally. But I’ll be quite honest – knowing that when I get home from work, I can just jump on to the train down the road and get to the arena in an hour to catch a game is very tempting. Sure they may have better attendance to start, but once the novelty wears off, will there be enough at the arena to keep fans coming?

With two restaurants that overlook the arena, a fresh modern atmosphere, better food, better seats, better mass-transportation, better special effects, better ice – well, you get the idea – the Devils are hoping fans will continue to come for many years.

Of course a winning record couldn’t hurt either.

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