When it comes to Stanley Cup playoff hockey, there is no doubt that fans bring a lot to the game.
Crowds are pumped, loud, and excited that their favourite team is in the postseason. Fans will do absolutely anything and everything they can to help “their” team win the Stanley Cup.
Looking at the above paragraph, you are probably thinking about fans waving playoff towels, wearing playoff shirts and being loud, proud and supportive of their team. However, one organization has gone one step further in order to utilize home ice to their advantage.
For their Eastern Conference Final with their Hudson River rival New York Rangers, the New Jersey Devils have gone ahead and launched a “No Blue” campaign to help enhance their home ice advantage at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
This campaign is designed to keep Rangers’ fans out of the Prudential Center during the Eastern Conference Finals and get more Devils’ fans in the arena to support their hockey club.
On one hand, it is understandable for a team’s fan base to do whatever it takes to root on their favourite hockey team and utilize home ice advantage to the best of their abilities. On the other hand, this campaign is absolutely ridiculous and when you think about it, embarrassing for an NHL franchise.
What does it say about your franchise that you are still trying to get your own fans into your barn for a playoff game? In most other NHL cities, it is easy to get fans into a building for a Stanley Cup playoff game and have it sell out.
With this campaign, the Devils are saying that they still have tickets available for the Eastern Conference Finals, a round that in most NHL cities would be sold out in a hurry. It should be pretty alarming that Devils’ “No Blue” campaign says the following:
If you do not own seats already, visit secondary market ticket sales websites including Ticket Exchange to purchase your tickets immediately. Thousands of seats still remain for both Rangers home games at The Garden. Therefore, there is a window right NOW, for Devils fans to swallow up all the remaining tickets for the upcoming Devils home games at the Rock. Seize that opportunity now while it is still available.
This means that at the most important time of the season, the Devils are having trouble getting fans into their own building. For the Devils, this is not the first time they have had trouble getting people in their own building as that is the problem they ran into at their former arena, the Izod Center/Continental Airlines Arena/Meadowlands.
Heck, the team could not even sell out its home opener a few seasons ago as the building was quite empty when in other NHL arenas, opening night is a hot ticket.
Secondly, why would you want to keep Rangers’ fans out of your building? Blueshirts’ fans will definitely take you up on your ticket offer and help fill the rink. Sure, they might be loud and even obnoxious but at least they will help make your arena more profitable and louder than it usually ever is.
Lastly, you do not see the Rangers implementing anything like this. Obviously, they don’t have to with the way their ticket sales have gone but the team would never go out of their way to institute a campaign to keep another team’s fans out of Madison Square Garden.
Basically put, this is a sad effort from an organization that desperately needs fans in their building.