NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils inducted Dr. John McMullen, their first owner, into their Ring of Honor prior to the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Prudential Center on Friday.
McMullen, who died in 2005 at the age of 87, is the first inductee. He purchased the Colorado Rockies in 1982, moved them to New Jersey to become the Devils, and owned them until 2000.
In addition, the Devils and the City of Newark dedicated a stretch of Lafayette Street adjacent to Prudential Center, between Broad Street and Mulberry Street, to McMullen.
"Dr. McMullen was such an integral part in not just bringing the team here for what we see here in this building and what has been built over the years in the NHL, but it's everything else that it's affected," said former Devils defenseman Bruce Driver, who was drafted in 1981 and won the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1995. "Youth hockey [in New Jersey] has grown tremendously, and I'm not sure if that growth would have been there if the team had not moved here."
Video: TOR@NJD: McMullen inducted into Devils' Ring of Honor
The Devils honored McMullen, who held a doctorate in mechanical engineering, with a video tribute narrated by Mike "Doc" Emrick.
McMullen's wife, Jacqueline, sons Peter and John Jr., and daughter Catherine were joined on the ice for the ceremony by former Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, former director of player personnel Marshall Johnston, and players Driver, Glenn "Chico" Resch, Chris Terreri, Ken Daneyko, John MacLean, Jim Dowd, Sergei Starikov, Randy McKay, Stephane Richer, Claude Lemieux, Brendan Shanahan and Patrik Elias.
The former players wore the Devils white, green and red jerseys with No. 82 on the back, representing the year McMullen brought the team to New Jersey. It played in East Rutherford until moving to Newark for the 2007-08 season.
Devils forward Kyle Palmieri and Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk, each a New Jersey native, participated in the ceremonial first faceoff.
"He was a bit of a bulldog and he kept saying, 'This is going to work Chico,'" said Resch, who moved with the team from Colorado to New Jersey. "He just said, 'I'm going to put a team here in New Jersey and it's going to work.' It became, 'You know what, someone does want us.'"