More than 160 captains took the ice Tuesday at Prudential Center. (PHOTO: Courtney Gfroerer)
Newark, N.J. — Only a few hockey players receive the honor of a “C” on their jerseys, marking them as captains. The New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center honored the Garden State’s high school captains during the team’s game against the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night to celebrate the start of the 2014-15 NJSIAA ice hockey season.
As the Devils and Wild took to their locker rooms for the first intermission, a large contingent of the state’s high school hockey captains took to the ice to cheers from the crowd and to officially kick off the season. Military personnel led the captains onto the ice, tying the Captains’ Night together with the Devils’ Military Appreciation Night festivities.
Paul McInnis, executive director of High School Hockey in New Jersey, described the night’s events as extraordinary. “It’s tremendous as far as high school hockey is concerned. The Devils have been big backers of high school hockey.”
Sean Crowley, captain of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, said going out on the ice was very meaningful. “It’s a great organization and I have to present myself well.” Crowley described the Marauders as an up and coming team, saying, “It’s great to be recognized.”
More than 160 captains came to The Rock to hear from John Gallucci, President and Founder of JAG Physical Therapy, and the Devils Alumni Association before the game. Captain’s Night has been a tradition since before the Devils moved to Prudential Center in 2007.
McInnis describes getting all the captains together as a great idea. “They’re all on the same page as far as rules.” McInnis said the night was also a great opportunity for captains to get questions answered that they can take back to their teams.
The high school season is fast approaching with practices underway beginning November 10. Pucks drop for Opening Day November 29 and from there the captains honored tonight will work to lead their teams back to Prudential Center for the State Championships March 9, 2015.
Teams compete in three divisions, Public A, Public B, and Nonpublic. Each division’s championship will be played on the same ice the captains stood on tonight.
“We’re looking forward to another great season,” McInnis said. “Every year it’s exciting to get the high school hockey season started.”