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The End of An Era

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils


After 25 years at the Continental Airlines Arena, the Devils will open Prudential Center this fall. –
Their opponents likely called it many things, but for 25 years, the Continental Airlines Arena has been the place that the Devils have called home.

It has seen three Stanley Cup Championships, four Eastern Conference titles, and this season, a seventh Atlantic Division victory.

On Saturday night, the Devils closed out their Silver Season in East Rutherford with a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators in game five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Scott Gomez scored twice, as Martin Brodeur stopped 21 shots in the defeat, as New Jersey was eliminated from the postseason.

After the traditional line up and handshake that officially put the finishing touch on the series, the playoffs and the 2007 season, the Devils left the Meadowlands ice for the last time, with those banners and those retired numbers hanging silently as mementos of New Jersey's established, championship legacy.

Where does the time go? Has it already been 12 years since the team accomplished the unthinkable, sweeping the Detroit Red Wings? Twelve years since Scott Stevens and John MacLean stood at the center ice just off of the New Jersey Turnpike to hoist the first of three Stanley Cups?

Beginning with 1995, four Stanley Cup Finals have been played here – only Detroit's Joe Louis Arena has hosted as many. This season, more for the history books: Martin Brodeur tied Bernie Parent’s 33-year-old victory for wins with his 47th of the season. The franchise, meanwhile, matched an all-time mark of its own with a 48th victory.

Those historical milestones marked a fitting end of an era, with another promising stage lying just ahead.

The lights will soon be switched off here for the final time in Devils’ history, and the organization will look forward to a continued winning tradition at a new monument to its track record of success: The Prudential Center.

Set to open this fall, The Prudential Center will house new technologies and improved sightlines for what is already shaping up to be an unparalleled fan experience. A new practice rink will be adjacent to the first major sports and entertainment facility that the metropolitan area has seen since the building formerly known as Brendan Byrne Arena opened its doors in 1981.

The fans will be closer to the action than ever, thanks to this state-of-the-art venue that will infuse the Devils’ faithful with a renewed pride in the team’s Newark future.

Just as they were at the Meadowlands, Scott Stevens’ No. 4, and Ken Daneyko’s No. 3 will be hung from the new rafters, and joined on opening night by the banner for the 2006-07 Atlantic Division. The Devils' past and present will be woven together, leaving plenty of room for the brightest of futures.

For now, the focus is on clearing out of this old house and moving on to The Prudential Center.

In the meantime, the memories of the last quarter-century of Devils hockey at the Continental Airlines Arena are yours to keep.


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