Josh Harris (l.) and David Blitzer are introduced as the Devils' new owners on Aug. 15, 2013. (GETTY IMAGES)
What a difference a year makes.
Just 12 months after purchasing the Devils and Prudential Center, Josh Harris and David Blitzer have been named the most influential people in New Jersey sports by The Star-Ledger.
The duo, which also owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, topped the paper’s annual “Juice List” after being ranked 12th last year. The announcement came just over a month before the Devils’ preseason opener on Sept. 22.
"They top the list because of what they're planning to do with the team, from transforming the fan experience to investing in new ways to improve hockey operations, and how they hope that their investment has a lasting impact on the growth of the franchise's home city itself,” wrote Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi.
The Devils' front office claimed three of the 25 spots on the list: President and GM Lou Lamoriello moved up one spot this year to fifth, while Devils/Prudential Center/Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil was 13th.
Introduced as Devils owners last Aug. 15, Harris and Blitzer have worked to boost season ticket sales and improve the Prudential Center experience.
But the upgrades haven't stopped there. The Devils have also made key roster moves this summer, re-signing leading scorer Jaromir Jagr and bringing in veteran forwards Mike Cammalleri and Marty Havlat. The backbone of the defense was bolstered with long-term deals to Cory Schneider and Andy Greene.
“It was a disappointing season,” Harris told The Star-Ledger. “I was unhappy. I didn't like being home watching the playoffs on TV. I wanted to be in the playoffs. It's not lost to me. At the same time, good people and good systems can have disappointing years, and we're focused on making this a successful franchise over the long term.”
The Devils begin the 2014-15 regular season in Philadelphia on Oct. 9. The home opener is set for Oct. 18 against San Jose.