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Devils players welcome fans to new era of Devils hockey

by Gordy Stillman / New Jersey Devils
Smiling for the camera, New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri meets with fans before the Devils' first home game of the preseason. Photo by Courtney Gfroerer

The New Jersey Devils welcomed their fans to the first home game of the preseason on Friday by greeting them in person as they arrived. Cory Schneider, Adam Henrique, Kyle Palmieri and Andy Greene were stationed at the tower entrances of Prudential Center, while Patrik Elias and Pavel Zacha surprised fans on Championship Plaza.

Earlier Friday, on Twitter, Facebook and Instragram, Schneider and Henrique told fans to get to The Rock early for the chance to meet them. Fans listened to the message, lining up to say hi to the players as soon as doors opened.

Adriene Senkiw, a bartender from Union, saw on Instagram that the players were going to be greeting fans and quickly decided to arrive early. A member of Devils Army, she described meeting Schnedier and Henrique as an “Oh, my God” moment and was excited to get her hat signed by both players. “I’m trying to get as many guys as I can on [the hat.]”

Talking with a young fan, Cory Schneider walks along the concourse towards one of the club lounges. Schneider and Adam Henrique were originally in PNC Tower, but moved to better handle the crowd. Photo by Kathleen Stump

Evan McCarthy, a 17-year-old student from Middletown, learned about the players via Twitter. “I nearly died,” McCarthy joked about seeing players in person. “It was great…they were down to Earth.” McCarthy walked away with Henrique’s signature on his iPhone case.

Elias and Zacha went on the move, heading out to surprise fans on Championship Plaza. At first, some fans didn’t realize it was actually the two Czech forwards, not expecting to see players outside, but once photos started flashing, others got excited as they recognized it was the real deal.

One fan had a unique appreciation for the gesture by players. Michael Giorgetti, a 24-year-old from Wood-Ridge working with the New York Jets, said he enjoyed the welcome, having recently gone through the NFL preseason last month. “The fans that are coming out early to a preseason game are being rewarded like this, it’s pretty awesome.” After meeting Palmieri and Greene, Giorgetti said it was great to see the team give back to fans like this and show similar appreciation to what fans offer the team throughout the season. “It’s especially good for the team culture.”

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