9/14 Update: I was wrong.
What I received on Tuesday and what I posted pictures of was, in fact, not my season ticket. It was confirmed to me by my ticket representative that the large, wide, Stevens-less piece of plastic was not a ticket. That explains why it has no seating information or anything else on it. It is nothing more than a keepsake. I assumed it was a season ticket - my season ticket. I was wrong.
Why did I make this assumption? For the past several years, the Devils sent out their season tickets in a special box kind of like this one. It would come with other information, a pre-printed letter from an exec, and so forth. Since I received this six days before the first preseason game, I figured this would be it. I paid quite a bit for my seat; I figured I would get what I paid for. Nope. This isn’t it.
So where are the tickets if you’re a season ticket holder? According to the aforementioned ticket rep, there are two places: the NHL.com app on your phone or a print out.
If you’ve opted for the printed tickets, well, you received information I didn’t get. Yes, I am a season ticket holder for nearly a decade and someone on a hockey blog they know about. I get press releases for the Prudential Center but not always season ticket holder information. Figure that out. Anyway, if you did want printed tickets, then I hope someone at the Devils told you that the third-party printer they used had an error and so the printed tickets are delayed. Better hope you have A) a phone that has the NHL.com app and B) you know how to log into your Ticketmaster and set it up. That part is easy. The usage, well, your mileage may vary. When it’s a rainy December night and your amid a line of fellow fans fumbling through their phones just to get into the game, I’ll be wishing for a simpler method. Like what they did with last season’s ticket.
Seriously, I understand the Devils want to go digital but there’s a really, really simple solution. Take that Membership Card and make that the season ticket as well. It totally works for that franchise just over the Jackson St. bridge, the New York Red Bulls. It’s easy. Take out a credit-card-like card, swipe in, and right into the game without any issue. It doesn’t ask the fan who paid thousands of dollars for a full season to either download an app that is basically a front end for Ticketmaster or request that the team print out what they paid for and wait on it because their vendor fouled up. And it doesn’t effectively send the fan a box that really means a lot less because it doesn’t have the desired object in it.
I was wrong about this post. But I am disappointed that I assumed what I thought was a season ticket was not actually season ticket. It was just a box that had less than I what I thought it did. I’m sorry for my error. I will keep the original post up to show what I did write. The original post follows:
As the 2017-18 NHL season comes closer and closer, a certain group of New Jersey Devils fans have been receiving something from the team. The group: season ticket holders. The something: their tickets for this season. I am a member of that group and in recent years, the Devils have sent out a full package with the tickets. It’s something to look at and one more sign that we are getting close to Devils hockey again. So here is what this year’s package looks like.
I’m not the best photographer and my phone camera isn’t the best so bear with me if these aren’t perfect.
In the envelope was a decently sized box. What you see is what you get. It’s a Devils logo, it says “35 Year Anniversary” instead of 35th for some reason, and there are three silhouettes Stanley Cups at the bottom. There really wasn’t anything interesting on the sides. It’s quite red. Pretty boring. But we don’t judge books by their covers, so why should we judge boxes like that? Let’s open it up.
On the left are pictures of the names of the three Devils teams to have earned the Stanley Cup. It’s good for nostalgia. The reflection in the picture (it is in the picture, it’s not the lighting from my amateur photography) makes it a bit hard to see, but they’re all there.
On the right: a black flap with a new slogan: Stronger. Faster. Together. The Devils weren’t much of, say, “fast, attacking, and supportive” by the turn of the last season. With new players coming in and a number of players leaving the organization this summer, it is entirely possible that they can be stronger and faster than before. They’ll have to play together by default. This is a slogan the 2017-18 Devils can possibly support. We’ll see if they do, though. Moving on to the inside of the flap:
There is a message from Devils general manager Ray Shero. It’s a standard, boilerplate “Thank you for being our fans” letter. It does correctly note that this is the 35th anniversary of the Devils being in New Jersey - not that this is the 35th season. Well done, Mr. Shero. What stood out to me is the sentence: “The pieces are coming together as we add to our foundation, and we’re heading in the right direction.” In case you were doubting the Devils were still re-building, there’s another piece of evidence showing that they are. This is a re-building year and the Devils noted that to the season ticket holders. I do hope the pieces are coming together. Extended re-builds are no fun - and bad for business.
What’s more interesting is what the flap was covering. There was a small membership guide booklet inside first. It tells you about the various benefits and such. And to try out the Devils app, which is really the NHL’s app. Anyway: here are the goods.
At the top is a 35th anniversary pin. I like the design and it’s a sharp pin. Good job. Below it is the season ticket. They call it a credential. I’m calling it a ticket as it gets me in the door. For the past few seasons, the season ticket holders would get an over-sized plastic ticket that acted as the whole package. It would come with a lanyard and a plastic sleeve that the ticket can sit in. Perfect for preventing spills and protecting it from the elements.
This year, well, it’s a wider ticket. Whereas the 2016-17 Devils season ticket fit in nicely in the sleeve, the new ticket will not. I just checked. So the Devils fans will get to find their own ways to protect it. Why is it wider? I couldn’t tell you. I also couldn’t tell you why one side has the QR code (not pictured and quite small) but the other doesn’t.
At least the design of the ticket is fancier. As it is the 35th year of the Devils being in New Jersey, it’s a collection of past and current Devils. From the top left and clockwise it’s Claude Lemieux, Andy Greene, Travis Zajac, Ken Daneyko, Patrick Elias, Chico Resch, Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Scott Niedermayer, and John MacLean. Martin Brodeur is right in the middle. It’s a who’s who of Devils - and someone critical is missing.
No, not Lou Lamoriello (although that would be a good choice too). Why there’s no picture of Hall of Famer, legendary defenseman, hit machine, and captain, #4 Scott Stevens! This is astounding! There are four - soon to be five - retired numbers in the rafters. How does one forget about Scott Stevens!? I get it, it’s a collection of past and present Devils. But would anyone really want to see, say, Zajac (who I like, by the way) at the expense of Scott Stevens? I checked this at least ten times to make sure I’m not going mad here. I don’t think I’m missing him and, if so, whoever designed this blew it here. The ticket design being too wide for past sleeves is annoying and the picture wasn’t on point. At least it has the tickets.
Lastly, you know what else this ticket is missing? The seat number. How am I to prove to the usher or anyone else that I sit in Section 1, Row 16, Seat 5 with this? Last year’s ticket had it boldly printed at the bottom. That was easy. Not so this year. This is a bigger problem than a severe lack of Scott Stevens in the photo. I fear this may be all a ploy to use the app for everything - which is a real let down to require use of my own stuff given how much I’m paying for a season ticket. Seriously, for the amount of money I’m paying, I don’t think this is too much to ask.
Behind the big ticket is cut out for a new Devils membership card and a lanyard. The Devils membership card is used to store money that can be used for food and merchandise. The membership card can be attached with the lanyard hook, but it fits perfectly in your average wallet. It begs the question: Why doesn’t this card have the tickets on it too? The New York Red Bulls have done that for years where tickets and money/credit can be stored on the same convenient card. They’re just down the road in Newark; surely the Devils can ask someone there how it is done. Alas, it is what it is. The lanyard is, well, it’s a lanyard. It does a good job of hooking onto things and wearing it around your neck.
That’s it in my package. The black foam in the box can be removed. There was nothing underneath my foam. I was half-expecting a plastic sleeve for the big and wide plastic season ticket. Nope. The foam is just removable. I suppose if you want to use it to store things and you want a Devils-themed red box for it, then you can do so.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the ticket. If it gets me into the Rock and into my seat, then that’s pretty much what I paid for. But this year’s ticket is a disappointment. The box design is simple, which is no big deal but it should try to make me think it’s a big deal to have it. I have a membership card that may or may not get used that strangely doesn’t get used for tickets. I have an oversized season ticket that has the game tickets - but has no seat information in my section and doesn’t fit in any past plastic sleeves to protect it. The ticket graphic doesn’t even fully represent all of the Devils’ legends. At least the pin and the lanyard work. This first impression is a downgrade from last season for sure.
I’m left feeling disappointed. And a bit confused. This doesn’t seem difficult to me. Make a package that’s visually appealing, make a ticket (or credential) that isn’t obnoxiously wide or tall, put a design on it that won’t make people go “Where’s this legend?,” and ensure that the ticket has the seat location on it. But, hey, I’m just a hockey blogger. What do I know? When one considers with the fact that the Devils sales department supposedly cleaned out their reps and replaced them again, and I really question what’s going on the business side of the organization.
Did you receive your season tickets yet? What do you think of the membership box? What’s going on with the sales department? Please leave your answers and thoughts about all this in the comments. Thank you for reading.