The New Jersey Devils had a terrible season last year, finishing 32-36-14 and near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. But 2015 has been a different story. The Devils started the season strong, and are currently in seventh place in the conference, good for a playoff spot.
At the beginning of the season, I had the chance to spend a day with the Devils at the Prudential Center, their home rink in Newark. I got an in-depth look at the team’s facilities, and I wasn’t disappointed.
During the course of the day, my schedule was jam-packed with events that would make any hockey fan jump for joy. I got to ride a Zamboni, skate on the same rink as the pros, and watch players fire slap shots across the ice.
One of the most interesting parts was seeing what goes on behind the scenes. There was a crafting table devoted to sharpening skates. In the storage closet, there was an endless supply of pucks and sticks. It was like a hockey heaven.
After practice, I interviewed players about topics ranging from the silly to the serious. The equipment guys were really nice, and I got the chance to see and look at everything the center had to offer. Another marvel was the training room. It had speakers that blasted music and a variety of weights to help the players train. It was incredible to see all of the things that the cameras don’t show.
The coolest part of the day was when I was fitted with my very own fire-engine-red Devils jersey and tried on all different types of pads. I literally got to feel what it’s like to be a NHL player. It’s no cakewalk!
By the time I had put on all the pads, it was very hard to walk around because of the sheer weight of the equipment. It was eye opening to realize that the NHL’s amazing athletes can move around in these pads with such great skill.
The supply stockpiles, the high-tech training rooms, and the spacious locker rooms all tell the story of what goes on behind the scenes. It was an action-packed thrill it is to experience it all.
Photos: Lauren Renner