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Centennial Fan Arena

NHL Centennial Fan Arena stops in New Jersey

Memorabilia, Stanley Cup draw crowd at Devils game

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Sean Briscoe of River Vale, New Jersey, considers himself a "New Jersey Devils-holic."

But even Briscoe was amazed with the history, nostalgia, fun and games available at the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, a touring exhibit which made a stop at Championship Plaza outside Prudential Center on Saturday. The exhibit is part of the League's Centennial Celebration.  

The activities included a virtual reality Zamboni, a 1,000-square foot interactive museum with Devils memorabilia, a pop-up street hockey rink, the Stanley Cup and live entertainment.

"It was amazing to see some of the stuff they used way back when (inside the interactive museum)," Briscoe said. "Looking at the difference in skates from year to year and how much more protection the players have today on their feet was interesting."

Said Bill Manson of Howell: "I never knew the history of the NHL emblem, so learning about that was fascinating. And those wooden sticks they had in the glass case were awesome. [Former New Jersey Devils forward] Bobby Holik always played with a wooden stick, so seeing those was cool."

Allison Bolch of Westwood admitted being nervous on the virtual Zamboni, in which each participant had one minute to resurface as much of the ice as possible.

"I did a lot worse than I thought I would," she said. "I liked the experience. But it was nerve-racking because people are watching me. I knew I was going to stink, but it was fun. This was also my first time seeing the Stanley Cup in person so that was pretty special."

The Stanley Cup, which the New Jersey Devils won in 1995, 2000 and 2003, was displayed prominently parallel to Mulberry Street and fans lined up to get a picture with the greatest trophy in sports.

"That's my favorite part of the job. Whether it's the Centennial Tour or just out and about doing stuff with the NHL or Hockey Hall of Fame, the reaction of fans is unbelievable," said Mike Bolt, who for 17 years has worked for the Hockey Hall of Fame as the keeper of the Cup.

"Fans young and old appreciate looking at it. It's the rock star of the game."

Devils alumni Bruce Driver, Ken Daneyko, Grant Marshall, Bryce Salvador and Colin White were there, taking part in the activities and talking to fans.

The Centennial Fan Arena event will be back on Championship Plaza on Sunday afternoon from 2-5 p.m. before heading to Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday, April 1. 

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