Today we bring you a special edition of Fan of the Week, featuring a fan from down under and no, I don’t mean Cape May County. Damian is from Australia, representing the red and black half a world away!
(If you’d like to be our next fan of the week, email FanOfTheWeek@Devilsinsiders.com)
A little background first. I am a 31 year old male who was born and lives in Australia. I got into ice hockey when I was about 11-12 years old through video games. I remember going over to a mates place who had an old Amiga computer system, and he wanted to play NHL. Being a young Australian, I had no idea about America or who was a good team. So, I scrolled through all the teams, and at that age I was listening to Bon Jovi. When I was going through the list I recognized New Jersey as I knew Bon Jovi came from there. So that’s how I chose my team (not that I objected to the colours or logo), and I stuck with them through the years as new video games came out.
As the Internet age slowly got better in Australia, I started to use it to download games to watch, and keep track of the Devils. I remember vividly watching the end of the regular season in 2006, and being knocked out of the playoffs. Since then I have followed, and have been an NHL Gamecenter subscriber for the past several years, have owned every EA NHL game since 2008 (always liked 2K version prior), and have amassed massive amounts of merchandise, and have traveled to the USA to see games.
Was my first time overseas. I holidayed in California in 2010 to see the Devils on a road trip against the Sharks, Ducks and Kings. My first game I went to was in San Jose at the HP Pavilion. We lost 5-2, but I just remember being so happy to see my favourite team play my favourite sport in real life rather than on TV. I took a lot of photos, including some great shots of a fight that broke out during the game on the ice. I even met a really nice Canadian couple who were visiting from Vancouver who were also Devils fans, who I met in line for a beer and some food, and we had a nice chat. I was used to Australian bogans (similar to rednecks) who get loud and abusive at sports games, and I walked away thinking that even though I was in the minority of the away team, everyone – including Sharks fans – were still very nice.
2. What is your all time favorite Devils moment?
Another tough one. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud as to have beaten the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. To watch us beat our biggest rivals at that level, the excitement after going to 7 games against the Panthers and just getting on a roll against the Flyers was amazing.
The other great moment was watching the Devils play the Vancouver Canucks at a bar with a room filled with Canucks fans (and me being the only Devils fan), and have the Devils beat them (there is a club in Melbourne, Australia that shows hockey games at a bar for like-minded fans as a social gathering and that was one of our nights). Was quite a fun night of gloating.
3. What is the best game you’ve ever attended?
Well I’ve only attended 3 games (from 2010), and the best game I attended was when we won against the Ducks in Anaheim. The fan base and arena videos was/is so arrogant and one sided that I was extremely happy to beat them in their home. I even got photos of me with the scoreboard in the background with the final score.
4. Who is your favorite current Devil?
Adam Henrique. Such a great, young prospect, who had a great 2011-12 season. Scoring the game winning goal in Game 6 against the Rangers to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals definitely helps. He has a hard working work ethic, and he will have a great future.5. Who is your favorite retired Devil?
Scott Stevens – I still love watching the clip of him hitting Eric Lindros! Still yet to get his jersey, and I love that he is an assistant coach helping our young defensive prospects.
6. Who is your most hated player in the NHL?
Sidney Crosby. Damn whinging cry baby. I hate his face, his voice, and was rather happy seeing him get taken out several times from concussions. I also hate the Penguins with a passion.
7. If you could spend a day with a Devils player, who would it be and why?
Hard choice, but Ilya Kovalchuk always cracks me up with his interviews after games. He has had some great one liners, and just his different perspective would be interesting to listen to and observe. He comes across with a child like innocence at times and think it wold be fun to have a Kovalchuk tour of New York.
8. What is your favorite thing about The Rock?
I am yet to go to a game there. I came over to the USA in October of 2012, to see the NFL, the Devils, and the Yankees. Unfortunately the lockout got in the way. I stayed for 2 weeks in New York which I still enjoyed. I also still made a pilgrimage to New Jersey and got some photos of the Rock (thankfully it was a perfect, sunny day), including the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals banner and Eastern Conference Champions plaque.
9. Devils fans are a tight knit bunch. What do you like best about Devils fans?
I’ve made some good friends through social media and the Devils. Everyone is always willing to talk and its even better that I get to talk about my favourite sports team. Hockey has such a limited fan base here, so it’s always great to talk and discuss with people. I’ve also exchanged gifts and care packages with Devils fans, and also had people send me merchandise from New Jersey.
10. When you think Devils hockey, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Hard question. Life really. I think in terms of Eastern Standard Time, I look forward to the next game, I even grow playoff beards. I’m constantly thinking of what merchandise to buy next, and always planning my next holiday to watch live hockey, it really is my passion. I’m sure ill get a Devils tattoo to add to my existing collection of tattoos at some stage.