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Jersey’s Tour continues in Hackensack

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils
By Pete Albietz

Jersey’s Tour followed up its successful stops in Long Branch, Hoboken, and Spring Lake with a fourth at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Hackensack on Thursday. The Devils continued their voyage throughout the Garden State with their popular new community initiative, and the restaurant provided an elegant setting.

Jeff Vanderbeek and Michael Gilfillan
Fans decked out in their Devils finest came out for the latest event, which featured Devils’ Chairman/Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek, Vice Chairman Michael Gilfillan, as well as alumni Ken Daneyko, Grant Marshall and Bruce Driver. Matt Loughlin, the Devils’ radio play-by-play broadcaster for WFAN, served as the emcee.

With just over two weeks left before the start of training camp, the anticipation for Devils hockey ran high. Continuing through the start of the regular season, Vanderbeek, the team’s owner since 2004, will be visiting all corners of the state to spread the Jersey’s Team message.

The Devils open the 2010-11 season at Prudential Center on Friday, Oct. 8 against Dallas. 

It was a busy week for the Devils' owner. On Tuesday, he joined representatives of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority and Caesars Atlantic City to announce that its minor-league affiliates in Albany (AHL) and Trenton (ECHL) would be playing a total of five games at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. With Albany visiting four times and Trenton once, fans will get to see the future of Jersey’s Team first hand in a beautiful facility.

Friday’s visit aimed to connect with the fans face-to-face. Vanderbeek was clearly impressed with the showing. 

“It’s great to see all the red jerseys and the enthusiasm of this group,” he said. “Bergen County – it’s great to be here – still holds our largest fan base.

“This is Jersey’s Tour because we are Jersey’s Team. We are the only professional team that wears the ‘NJ’ on its chest. It is about pride in what we do. We do that as a team. Our fan base does too.”

This session highlighted the knowledge and dedication of fans who peppered the panel with questions ranging from battles on the ice to the best prank pulled by the players.

Devils Army came out in full force for the latest Jersey Tour stop.
The alumni continued to entertain the crowd with stories from their playing days. Grant Marshall asked them to not only come out to Devils games, but to attend Devils Alumni games as well. (For those who want to see Ken Daneyko light the lamp, this is the perfect opportunity.)

“He’s our leading scorer,” said Alumni Association Director Bruce Driver. “I wasn’t allowed to score when I played,” Daneyko quickly replied, his 36 career goals in 20 NHL seasons giving credence to that statement.

The Alumni Association lends its name, time, and efforts to coordinate games with charitable organizations. These games are used to raise funds and bring awareness to causes in the community.

Along with the hundreds of public appearances the alumni make at schools, hospitals, and rinks each year, these events continue to foster the organization’s willingness to reach out and give back.

Not only are these events for a good cause, but they are a lot of fun for players, participants, and fans alike.

“Come to our alumni games,” Marshall said. “Dano can make a fool of himself. Bruce and I can make fools of ourselves.”

Marshall, a native of Mississauga, Ontario, went on to proclaim his love for the great state of New Jersey and the impact it had on his career. He echoed the owner’s sentiments about Jersey pride.

“This is my home, I love being here,” he said. “I love being part of the Alumni Association with Bruce and Dano, where we get to go out to the community and give back.”

It was obvious to all in attendance that the logo on the front of the jersey meant more than just being a symbol – it was, and continues to be, a source of pride to those who have worn it and to all those who are associated with it.

Following the formal Q & A session, all of the participants continued to meet with the fans one-on-one to discuss the team, answer more questions, and cover all things Devils’ hockey.

All-in-all, it was another successful stop on Jersey’s Tour.

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