Firstly, I apologize for this post being a day late as I am still recovering from the trip in from Arizona and the ensuing time change. I admit that I have been very tired for the past week. But on to the business at hand.
The Devils held their now-annual 3-on-3 tournament at Development Camp yesterday at the RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House practice rink. The rookies were divided into four teams (Team Niedermeyer, Team Stevens, Team Daneyko and Team Brodeur). Team Niedermeyer, which included number one overall pick in this year’s Draft, Jack Hughes, won the event.
The tournament consisted of seven minute “periods” with two teams facing each other in one of the rink’s offensive zones. The teams would rotate to either side of the rink so that fans on both sides got to see the players in action. When one of the games ended in a tie, there was a two-minute sudden-death shootout, with the first team to beat a goalie winning the game. Teams wore either red or white jerseys with two of the teams having to switch when facing an opponent with the same color jersey.
I was standing along the glass at the end of the rink nearest the lobby (fans could not stand at the other end of the rink) and got to see things really close. Ty Smith and, of course, Hughes, impressed the most, but I also thought Mike McLeod had a pretty good showing as did defenseman Reilly Walsh and forward Joey Anderson.
Team Niedermeyer, as mentioned, won the tournament. The team featured, along with Hughes, goalie Akira Schmid, Danny Weight, Tyce Thompson, Brandon Gignac, Blake Speers, Walsh, Xavier Bernard and Jeremy Grouleau.
Following the win, the team was presented with a trophy by Devils legend Patrik Elias. They then took a team photo and then all four teams saluted the standing-room only crowd. All of the players were then corralled for a camp photo before Hughes and Anderson were interviewed by Amanda Stein. Fans were then allowed into the main arena to take pictures with the players and receive autographs. About 150 lucky fans who showed up early enough to get special wrist bands were able to attend a meet-and-greet with Hughes.
Chris Westcott reported for the Devils’ official website and app that Hughes was impressed by the showing of support from Devils fans. He was quoted as saying “I love Jersey already.” Wescott also quoted Hughes as saying that “I’m just really excited to play here for a lot of years… I’m really excited to get going.”
On Saturday, the Devils will be presenting their Red and White Scrimmage at Development Camp and I will be attending. I should have something up a little faster then so be on the lookout for that.