Devils Show Hockey Is For Everyone All Year ‘Round

Caela McLoughlin of the NewJerseyDevils.com (the team’s official website) had an interesting piece up today that I thought I would like to highlight. It was on the various ways that the Devils participate in the “Hockey Is For Everyone” initiative put forth by the NHL.

As McLoughlin said in her article, Hockey Is For Everyone “aims to teach hockey to all who are interested and build more inclusive hockey communities that drive positive social change.”

She talked about the Devils’ support for the Special Olympics New Jersey. According to McLoughlin, “(f)rom June through November, the Devils joined with Special Olympics New Jersey for the organization’s inaugural year of the Lear to Skate program – the first of its kind in the Special Olympics movement.” She said that five rinks participated (all of whom are affiliated with the Devils as rink partners) throughout the state. At each of the sessions at the rink, “the Devils provided on-ice support and off-ice education about the sport of hockey to Special Olympics athletes and their families.”

McLoughlin said that the rink partners “donated, in total, 25 hours of ice time for the Special Olympics New Jersey Learn to Skate.” Now, for anyone who played hockey or has had someone in their family play hockey, they know that this is no small thing. Ice time is very valuable to rinks and in demand. So the rinks were really providing a great service to Special Olympics New Jersey and that is nice to see.

In addition, McLoughlin said that “(i)ndividuals from local hockey clubs also volunteered as instructors for the sessions.” She also said that “(t)he program also connected people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to local ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating teams through Special Olympics New Jersey, USA Hockey and American Special Hockey Association.”

On another track, the Devils, on Monday against the Lightning, celebrated International Day of Disabled Persons. In recognition of this, nine-year-old Joel Tapia of the Woodbridge Warriors Sled Hockey Team was named Junior Captain of the Game. The Devils have done the Junior Captain of the Game before, most notably during Hockey Fights Cancer Night.

McLoughlin mentioned Joel’s role in being the Junior Captain. He got to high five the players as they came out of the locker room before the game and got to line up with the team on the blue line during the national anthem. He was introduced to the crowd by PA Announcer Kevin Clark as well.

In addition to all of this, McLoughlin says that the Devils will be celebrating American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) Night on Friday, December 14 when the Devils face the Vegas Golden Knights. She said that “(t)he Devils will have one representative from each of the five local ASHA clubs join the team on the blue line for hte National Anthem. ASHA will also be the 50/50 beneficiary that evening, where fans can donate by participating in the raffle.”

For more information, you can read Caela’s article over at the Devils’ official site here.

Devils Host Youth Shootout Challenge With Winners Going to All-Star Game

According to an article by Caela McLoughlin on the Devils official website, there was a pretty big competition going on at the Prudential Center last week.

On November 19, the Devils hosted the third annual Youth Hockey Shootout at the arena with 66 of the area’s youth hockey players facing off in shootout-style tournament. As McLoughlin stated, “(o)f the 66 players, there were 33 pairs, a goalie and a skater, representing 33 different local youth hockey associations and rinks from New Jersey.” She said that the tournament was run by former Devils Bruce Driver, Bryce Salvador and Colin White (and mascot NJ Devil) and emceed by PA Announcer Kevin Clark.

The shootout would continue until it got to a final round of two pairs. The two final pairs would then face each other during the November 21 Devils game against the Montreal Canadiens. The winners would then represent New Jersey at the NHL All-Star Shootout Challenge in San Jose against winners of similar shootouts in other NHL cities.

McLoughlin described the event as “a three-round, single elimination bracket-style shootout.” She said that “if there was a tie after the three rounds, the competition would enter sudden death.” She then mentioned that the longest heat in the shootout was between the Union Thunder and New Jersey Rockets, which she said went nine rounds.

The four winners who emerged from this round and moved on to the finals during the Devils-Canadiens game were Jacob Sokol and Bryan Schwarts from the New Jersey Stars and Matthew Zocks and Andrew Downey from Devils Youth.

The final took place during the first intermission of the game between the Devils and Montreal and goalie Zocks and shooter Downey came out victorious. They will now head to the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose in January to try to bring glory to the Devils and New Jersey youth hockey.

McLoughlin said that they were congratulated at center ice by Driver, White “and Dr. John Feldman of RWJBarnabas Health” to “wish them good luck in California.”

After competing in their own sort-of all-star skills competion, the kids from the Devils Youth will now compete against the best from all over North America at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game. Congrats to all of the participants and good luck to Matthew and Andrew in San Jose!

To read more about this event please visit the official Devils website here.

Hynes to Play in Stars & Stripes Showdown

Coach John Hynes will be participating in a benefit game in Plymouth, Michigan according to the Devils website.

The game, called the Stars & Stripes Showdown, will benefit the Jim Johannson Legacy Fund of The USA Hockey Foundation and the Ellie Johannson College Fund. The game, which begins at 2 PM ET in Michigan, will take place Sunday, August 26 at the USA Hockey Arena. It will feature “top American-born hockey stars.”

Hynes, of course, played at Boston University and hails from Warwick, Rhode Island. He was the head coach of the US National Development Team which plays in the USHL and is run by USA Hockey.

Jim Johannson was the head of USA Hockey who tragically passed away just prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics. The game, in addition to benefitting the two funds, will also be played in his honor.

In other New Jersey hockey-related news, congratulations to Joe Masonius of Spring Lake, who was profiled in yesterday’s Coast Star. He has signed an AHL deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins and will play in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton next season. He was a sixth round pick by Pittsburgh in 2016 according to the article in the Star (written by Len Bardsley).

He played high school hockey at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, New Jersey and three years at the University of Connecticut. Good luck to him as another New Jersey hockey player joins the professional ranks.

Devils to Honor Youth Hockey Tonight Versus Caps

The Devils put out a press release yesterday announcing that they “will host the Atlantic Amateur Hockey Association (AAHA)” tonight – January 18 – against the Washington Capitals.

The press release mentions that the program will get “in-game recognition and promotion of the organization, appearances on Devils media outlets, a special ticket offer for all AAHA members and a donation of the proceeds from the 50/50 raffle.”

They will also be honoring the “three winners of the 2018 Dr. John J. McMullen Service to New Jersey Hockey Award.” The three recipients are James Plunkett, Richard Foster and Dan May.

Plunkett “was the First Coach-in-Chief of the AAHA, served as AAHA Executive Vice President for five years, and started as a coach, referee and official.” He is a former coach of 1995 Stanley Cup champion and Brick, New Jersey-native Jim Dowd in his youth hockey career. According to the press release, “Plunkett still serves as Director Emeritus for the AAHA, with nearly 50 years of service.”

Foster “served as Vice President of Rules and Regulations for the AAHA for 20 years, Director Emeritus for 20 years and Commissioner of the AMHL’s Junior Programs for 25 years.” He, like Plunkett, is considered a “builder” and the release says that he was “a benefactor to Junior hockey during the 1980s and 90s, helping to support various programs.” He “has over 50 years of continued service to hockey.”

May, a coach at all levels for 40 years, including time at Bergen Catholic high school. He has been the “AYHL Vice President for the past 15 years, sat on the AAHA Board for 15 years and has positively impacted the lives of thousands of players, quietly, and with great integrity.” He currently serves as President of the New Jersey Avalanche and is a “former hockey Director of the NJ Devils Youth – helping many top players to collegiate, NHL and Minor Pro levels.”

The three men “will be joined by their family and friends in club suites at the game, participate in an in-game presentation during the first period, second TV timeout in front of the Dr. McMullen Ring of Honor Tribute Wall on the upper concourse and have a $1,000 scholarship endowed in each recipient’s name for a deserving hockey-playing student-athlete.”

The award is being resurrected this year and has been given “to an individual or individuals who have supported amateur hockey throughout the state.” The press release names former winners including Glenn “Chico” Resch, Bruce Driver, Max McNab, Dr. McMullen himself, Lou Lamoriello, and media members Glenn Hefferan and Mike Morreale as well as a host of “influential youth hockey coaches and officials.”

The Devils also said that they will acknowledge the New Jersey Devils Peewee Quebec Team during the national anthem. The team will be participants in the 59th Annual Peewee Quebec International Tournament. This is a very famous tournament featuring some of the best players in that age group in the world. The press release mentions that Ben Lovejoy, John Moore, Mirco Mueller, Kyle Palmieri, Steven Santini, Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha are the current Devils who have had the honor of participating in this tournament.

In an unrelated note, I would just like to mention that my hometown, Wall, New Jersey’s recreation department is running a bus trip to the Devils-Flyers game on Thursday, February 1 at Prudential Center. They are calling it the “Night With the New Jersey Devils.” The ad in the Coast Star newspaper said that the bus leaves at 4 PM for the 7 PM game from the Municipal Complex and to contact Liz Cellini at ecellini@townshipofwall.com to purchase tickets or if you have questions. For anyone living in the Wall Township area, this might be a cool thing to take advantage of, especially if you have not been to Prudential Center yet or just want to take in a good divisional rivalry game.

White Team Wins APP All-Star Hockey Classic

The White team All-Stars defeated the Blue Team in a shootout at the Asbury Park Press’ Hockey Classic yesterday. The event, which functioned as a fundraiser for the Brick Challengers Hockey Program, was sponsored in part by the New Jersey Devils.

It took place at the Middletown Ice World in Middletown, New Jersey and featured some of the top hockey players from high school programs in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

According to the article in today’s Asbury Park Press by Chris Rotolo, the game went to a shootout and was won in the fifth round by forward Max Halvorsen of Freehold Township.

Former Devils defenseman and captain Bruce Driver and former Devil and Brick, New Jersey native Jim Dowd were present to help with the ceremonial first puck drop. According to a photo in the Press, Paul Crepaldi of the Brick Stars Challenger program and former Brick High School coach Bob Auriemma, who was being honored, were also present for the faceoff between the two team captains, Michael Mania (White Team) and Shane Haviland (Blue Team).

Halvorsen was named the White Team’s MVP for his goal in the fifth round of the shootout and Corey Clifton of Christian Brothers Academy was named the Blue Team’s MVP.

Rotolo gave special mention to the goaltenders for having strong games between them, despite what the 5-4 final would indicate. The goalies included Andrew Slobiski of Brick Memorial, Ciaran McNelis of Red Bank Catholic and Jeremy Connor of St. John Vianney of the White Team and Cooper Klotz of Point Boro, Cam Conrad of Southern Regional and Logan Beattie of Wall Township for the Blue Team.

That the game came down to the wire shows how the competition keeps getting better Clifton told Rotolo. “The game seems to be getting better each year it’s been going, which is a testament to how good the players in this community are” he said to the reporter.

Congratulations to all of the players and organizers involved in what was a really good game for a fantastic cause.

Asbury Park Press All-Star Hockey Classic to be Held in Middletown

Today’s edition of the Asbury Park Press had more details on the upcoming APP All-Star Hockey Classic. The event, to be held Sunday August 6 at the Middletown Ice World rink, will be benefitting the Brick Stars Challenger Hockey Program. It is sponsored in part by the New Jersey Devils.

The Brick Stars are, according to the article (written by APP staff writer Chris Rotolo), a program that helps to teach hockey to “local children and young adults with developmental disabilities, including autism and Down syndrome.”

In addition to ticket sales for the game, for which doors open at 12:30 PM and opening faceoff is 2 PM, there will be money raised in other ways. T-shirts will be sold and autographed memorabilia will be raffled. The memorabilia will be from Middletown natives James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Trevor van Riemsdyk now of the Carolina Hurricanes. JT Miller of the Rangers will also be donating autographed memorabilia for raffle.

In addition, there will be ticket packages to bid on for the New York Yankees, the Devils “and live music performances at the Stone Pony Summer Stage.”

Tickets are available online at www.tickets.app.com/2017-asbury-park-press-hockey-classic as the article says, while supplies last. The event honors “the best in Jersey Shore high school hockey” and this year will also honor “legendary Brick High School coach Bob Auriemma.” Among the stars you can catch a glimpse of are defenseman Julian Kislin of Freehold Township and center Corey Clifton of Christian Brothers Academy (whose brother, Connor, was drafted in 2013 by the Arizona Coyotes and his other brother, Tim, played eight game for the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL last year).

In all, there will be 42 stars on display as a team consisting of Monmouth County All-Stars takes on Ocean County All-Stars.

Again, it is all for a great cause and if you are in the Middletown, New Jersey area on August 6 you could get to see some great hockey as well.

Local Police to Play Benefit Hockey Game on Saturday

There was an interesting article in today’s Asbury Park Press sports section written by Chris Rotolo detailing a charity hockey game that will be played at the Red Bank Armory rink this Saturday, January 14. The game will be between the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association Hockey Team and the Jersey City Police Department Enforcers.

The game will be played in honor of Kortney Rose, an Oceanport girl who was “diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumor” in December of 2005. She passed away on April 27, 2006 at the age of 10.

Admission to the game in the beautiful Red Bank rink is a $5 donation. Faceoff is 8 PM and all proceeds will benefit the Kortney Rose Foundation, which seeks to enhance the quality of life for children with brain tumors and help raise funds “to support research and education related to the treatment and cure of pediatric brain tumors.”

The game will be a celebration of the life of Kortney Rose and the impact she had on many in the area during her lifetime.

The Kortney Rose Foundation website can be found at www.thekortneyrosefoundation.com and has more information on the good work that they do. The Red Bank Armory is located at 76 Chestnut St., Red Bank, New Jersey and is one of the nicest rinks in the state. If you can make it out, it should be a good night of hockey and it benefits a great cause.