There's only one more game (tonight) until the All-Star break. The four-day event which contains a draft, a skills competition, and an exhibition is in Ottawa this year. No Devils will be there, as Adam Larrson and Adam Henrique will opt out due to minor injuries. This will be the Senators first time hosting the event. They get to remove themselves from a group of cities and teams that have yet to host NHL's second biggest regular season event (the Winter Classic being the other).
The Devils had the luxury of hosting an All-Star Game in 1984, only a couple years after their move to New Jersey. Two Devils were apart of that (defender Joe Cirella and Glen "Chico" Resch who we are all aware of). Here's the introduction of the Wales Conference. What I hate about this video is the announcer's tone when introducing Ranger players as it was held at the World's Most Overrated Arena which happens to contain asbestos. The two Devils heard cheers and boos as well.
Now, the Devils are in a new home. A home in the middle of it's 5th year of operation. Newark, NJ joins the list of six cities yet to hold the event. The Prudential Center joins of a longer list of new arenas yet to hold one. Only seven NHL arenas have opened since 2000. Of those seven arenas, only the Wild and Stars have held All-Star games. Will Newark get one? Will the Devils host one soon?
My guess is yes, but not for a few more years. With Pittsburgh's new arena and the Garden being renovated, these will most likely be on top of the NHL's list. They have not announced last year's yet, though rumors are it may be in Columbus or Anaheim. I remember hearing Devils Chairmen Jeff Vanderbeek mention during one of his Jersey Tours a couple summers back that the organization will apply to one. I don't know if they have or if they haven't.
I think the organization should get on this in the next few years. Why? Well a couple of reasons.
One is the exposure. It's already a top selling arena in the world. But more is always better. It would help local exposure in hockey as well. Fans from around North America would see the jerseys of all teams across the state. The local media would hopefully ride this and give exposure to the Devils.
Another is finances. A four day event can bring in some "mula". It could also increase season tickets sales (since it may be the only way to get tickets to the All-Sat game at a reasonable price). That would surely help the Devils finances problems if they are grave as the rumors (and they are rumors) suggest.
The City of Newark has been under a reconstruction itself. It's no longer the crime infested city in a toxic state. Laugh all you will outsiders, but I walk my 3 blocks from the light rail station to my car after every game at 10 p.m. every Devils home game. The restaurants around the arena are fun, the Gateway Center also has some quick bites, and transportation is never an issue. The biggest is the new Courtyard Marriott being built right next to the Rock.
I feel once the hotel is finished, and few more pre/post game spots open, the area around the arena will be ready for prime time.
So I ask you. Will the Devils get an All-Star Game soon? What do they need to do to get one? What does the Newark area need to do? In lieu of the weekend break coming up - I ask you: What do you think?