|NJ Devil poses with other mascots at the 2007 All Star Game.
We caught up with N.J. Devil before he took off for the 2014 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus, OH. Follow N.J. all week long on Twitter @NJDevil00 as he takes part in All-Star activities.
What is your favorite part of All-Star Weekend?
Definitely spending time with the other 25 mascots in the league and working together to create a special event for fans in attendance. And, of course, the Mascot Game between the two conferences. The West doesn’t stand a chance this year.
Are there any mascot friends you are particularly looking forward to seeing?
I’m pretty good friends with everyone, but I especially enjoy seeing all the guys from the Eastern Conference. We’re a tight group. The All-Star Game is in Columbus, OH this year and I’m sure a lot of the Western Conference guys will spend the entire weekend complaining about how cold it is.
Any favorite stories from past All-Star breaks?
You know I can’t divulge too many stories. As we always say, “What happens at All-Star stays at All-Star,” but I will share one with you. In 2012 in Ottawa, I had a great encounter with a Flyers fan (never thought I’d write that!) At every All-Star Weekend there is a Fan Fest with interactive hockey attractions, including a target shoot – top right and left, bottom right and left, and one at the five-hole spot. Well, I jumped in to give it a try and this Flyers fan yells out from the line, “I’ll bet you 20 bucks you don’t hit three out of five, N.J.” Never one to back down from pretty much anything, I made a “show me the money” gesture with my fingers. He pulls out a $20 and it…was…on. Everyone started cheering and then I asked for silence from the gathering crowd, to build the drama. I started with the upper left and made my way clockwise. The fans waiting in line got louder with every target I hit. After four in a row I had already won the bet, but I gave the guy a look before the last shot and asked for some noise from the crowd. Bam! I drilled the last target to go five for five. I walked over, he gave me the $20 and I strutted away. I, of course, then turned around and gave him his money back as All-Star break is not about rivals, but about everyone just having a great time and celebrating hockey. He laughed, we took a picture, I signed something for him, and I went on my merry way.
Do you have any All-Star Weekend traditions?
I always get the rest of the mascots to sign an item from the weekend so I can give it away to a lucky Devils fan through a social media contest when I get back. Keep an eye out for this year’s next week! I always grab something for myself as well, so I can remember what a great weekend it was.
What’s it like to see Devils fans at the festivities?
Devils fans are the best. I’m usually surrounded by them when I’m at Prudential Center or at an appearance in New Jersey, so it’s a little intimidating to be at an event with other fans. It’s great to see all the hockey fans during All-Star Weekend, but when you enter an event and you see a familiar face, it is awesome.
Do you play any pranks on the other mascots?
Of course! We really only see each other once a year, so we have to take advantage of our time together. We will hide jerseys, break out the whip cream and feather trick while other mascots are sleeping, photobomb each other, pull chairs out, etc. The most important thing to remember is to check your skate blades for clear tape before you go out for introductions at the mascot hockey game in front of all the fans at the arena. Trust me.
What is your greatest memory from a past All-Star Weekend?
There really are too many to think of just one, but I can say that the memory I take from every All-Star Weekend is seeing Devils fans. I love to hear my name called and then turn around to see a little Devils fan running up to you to say hello. Then I hear the child’s mother or father say, “We have searched all over town for you and were glad we got say hello!” It’s nice to feel wanted, you know?
At six feet tall, with pointed ears and horns, is it difficult to board a plane to get to the All-Star Game?
It’s always an issue because the horns cause a problem. I need an aisle seat so I can have as much head room as possible, and I have to sit in the last row so the other passengers can see the safety presentation before we take off.
What’s the best way for Devils fans to keep up with your All-Star adventures?
Fans can follow me on my Twitter (@NJDevil00) and Facebook (N.J. Devil), where I will be posting pictures and videos throughout the weekend.