Today, the Devils held a season kickoff event for Devils Membership season ticket holders at the Prudential Center. It was a nice event for families and fans with all kinds of activities and ways to get to interact with the players.
The event began with a small talk from Devils and Prudential Center President Hugh Weber, Devils captain Andy Greene and Chief Revenue Officer Adam Davis. The three welcomed the fans to the event and explained the reasoning behind this season’s marketing slogan “One Jersey.” A very short video was then shown on Prudential Center’s big video board highlighting the marketing campaign. Basically, the team is looking to broaden their approach to bringing in fans from all across New Jersey. A tough proposal for the team, with the Rangers vying for fans with the Devils in North Jersey and the Flyers essentially ruling South Jersey, but it is one that all Devils fans will hope works in the long run, regardless.
After that, fans were allowed to wander the lower concourse of the building with carnival games, street hockey and other kid’s activities on the arena floor. Fans had the chance to get their pictures taken with players like Pavel Zacha, Michael Cammalleri, Travis Zajac, John Moore and others in designated areas along the concourse. In addition to that, some players like Devante Smith-Pelly were walking around the concourse meeting with fans, taking pictures and signing autographs
There was a stage set up in the Lafayette Tower entrance where players like Adam Henrique, Keith Kinkaid, Cory Schneider and Cammaleri and Devils alumni Ken Daneyko and Grant Marshall would take part in “Whose Jersey Is It Anyway” at various times. “Whose Jersey Is It Anyway” is an improv comedy show that was performed along with the Improv Comedy Lab.
Fans could also attend discussion panels with different topics and players. They included “The Defense Never Rests” with Greene, Moore and Damon Severson; “Meet Your New Devils” featuring Taylor Hall, Ben Lovejoy and Beau Bennett; “Life on the Road” which included Zajac, Jon Merrill and Jacob Josefson; “Kids Only Press Conference” featuring Schneider, Kyle Palmieri and Vernon Fiddler; and “Living Legends” with Colin White and Bruce Driver.
In addition to that, fans could learn how to play the organ with Lessons with Pete the Organist, play EA Sports’ new videogame NHL 17 on the big video board, call your favorite Devils moment in the One Jersey Broadcast Booth, get your picture taken for your own playing card, and get filmed to star in the One Jersey Campaign. There were also plenty of food and retail options available to spend money.
I have said it here before and I will continue to say it, but with the new ownership and management groups, things like this have become more commonplace. More player interaction and getting the team “out there” in public with the fans, something you would have never seen under the old leadership, but something that is necessary in today’s sports landscape – especially one as crowded as the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. That is not to disparage Lou Lamoriello and his staff and the former owners of the team. They always felt that winning would be enough to get the fans in the building. But when a team falls on harder times (and with today’s more interactive culture with Facebook and Twitter), you need to have that interaction and connection with the public.
Regardless of how the Devils do this season on the ice, events like this are definitely a step in the right direction.