Devils Hold Team Building Exercise/Practice at US Naval Academy

The Devils took part in some team building exercises and held a practice in a rink named for an important name from the team’s past over the last two days.

They headed down to Annapolis, Maryland to the United States Naval Academy to hold team building exercises prior to the season. They held a similar event at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York a few years back under John Hynes.

This is not the first time the Naval Academy has hosted an NHL team. The football stadium (Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium) hosted a Stadium Series game between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018.

Yesterday, according to the team’s official website, the team held a head-to-head sailing competition. They also took part in other military-based exercises like zip lining, as posted to Twitter by PK Subban and Jack Hughes.

This morning, the team moved indoors to take part in a practice at the John McMullen Hockey Arena. McMullen, the man who bought the Colorado Rockies and moved them to New Jersey in 1982, was also a graduate of the Naval Academy in 1940.

Some of the older Devils, who were around when players who played under McMullen’s ownership, were honored to be in a rink named for him.

Travis Zajac told Sara Giles on the Devils’ website: “Obviously he was the one to bring them over from Colorado, anyone that played for him had high regards as far as him being a great leader, a great person always cared about families and how the guys were doing. I’ve heard stories about him and obviously he’s in the ring of honor at our rink. You see how much he means to the organization.”

Andy Greene told Giles: “It’s such an impact and so great to see his name on the building and to be able to practice here today.”

Giles also noted on the site (in a separate article) that the trip to the Naval Academy was extra special to Kyle Palmieri, who does so much charitable work for the military and veterans. His foundation and Squad 21 program help bring veterans to Devils games.

Palmieri told Giles: “It’s awesome, I’ve never been here before. Obviously, it’s a beautiful campus and has a lot of importance to our country and the arm [sic] forces, so it’s a special place to be and it’s an honor to be around these men and women. It’s pretty cool to be here.”

He continued, saying that the team has a lot to learn from the members of the Naval Academy, telling Giles: “These are the people that are leading the way so it’s something that as a team we can take a lot of characteristics and qualities as a person. It’s a special opportunity for us and we’re really grateful to be here.”

Giles also said that Ty Smith, while on the trip, did not practice with the team on Monday.