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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.