Newark, N.J. — The Devils’ celebration of the 1995 Stanley Cup-winning team was like all 20th anniversaries; special. From the pre-game video to the white sweaters at home, the Devils and their fans relished in the commemoration of the franchises’ first championship on Sunday, March 8 at Prudential Center before the team took on the Philadelphia Flyers – the same franchise the Devils beat to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals two decades ago this spring.
Instead of the usual pre-game presentation, featuring clips from the team’s origins all the way through more recent events, the Devils rolled out a special show, featuring clips from every round of the 1995 playoffs. Soon after, the Stanley Cup appeared, presiding over the ceremonies that included the family of original Devils owner, the late Dr. John McMullen, along with current owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer raising a 20th Anniversary banner into the rafters.
The 1994-95 Devils, wearing white jerseys in a throwback to when home teams wore white, were then introduced to the roaring crowd. The fans reached their loudest as Martin Brodeur—who played forward for part of Saturday’s alumni game — was introduced, though the ’95 captain, Scott Stevens, received a similarly impressive ovation from the crowd.
Alan Ostrawitz, a season ticket holder since 1983, watched the ceremony with his daughter Melanie, who celebrated her 14th birthday on the day the team won the cup, 20 years ago. “I was a Devils fan when the Devils won 20 games,” Alan said. For Ostrawitz, his favorite part of the ceremony was Scott Stevens’ speech to the crowd.
“I was born with a Devils jersey on,” the younger Ostrawitz joked.
Closing out the ceremonies, the ’95 team took one last victory lap around the ice, as the frenzied crowd cheered on. To Melanie Ostrawitz, the victory lap was the most memorable part of the event. “It was just very emotional, and I managed to get it on video,” she said.
Attending the ceremony was also a special moment for Joe Stinson and his daughter Jennifer, from Secaucus, N.J. Jennifer is both deaf and autistic, and Joe said attending major events like this means a lot to his family. “This is priceless,” Stinson said.
First-year season ticket holder Shawn Mayer, of Hazlet, N.J., thought the experience was “pretty neat.” Mayer was not a hockey fan in ’95, but became one in the early 2000s when his brother started playing in high school, in time for the Devils’ 2003 run. What stood out for Mayer was the pre-game video and seeing Brodeur back on the ice.
But that wasn’t the end of the celebratory weekend. Devils season ticket holders who have renewed their tickets for the 2015-16 season received a special prize during the game; a picture with the Stanley Cup. Once the game was underway, the Stanley cup and its handler made its way to AmeriHealth Pavilion, where the fans were waiting for their chance to get a photo.
|Renewing season tickets comes with perks. As part of the celebration for the 1995 Stanley Cup winning New Jersey Devils' 20th anniversary, the Stanley Cup stopped by for a few appearances. Season ticket holders who renewed their seats for next season had the opportunity to get a picture with one of the most famous trophies in the world. Photo by Courtney Gfroerer |
“Seeing the cup, it brings back some great memories,” Stinson said. Having followed the team for over 20 years, it wasn’t the first time he and his daughter had a picture with the Cup.
The elder Ostrawitz, on the other hand, was only just getting his first photo with the Cup because with past opportunities he had sent his daughters, friends and other relatives instead.
For families like the Ostrawitz’s, being a fan has stood the test of time. In his speech to the crowd, former captain Scott Stevens said, “This team standing here today will last forever.” Those words felt particularly true as members of the ’95 team and current team embraced to end the ceremonies.