The Prudential Center in Newark has constantly been filled up on a consistent basis throughout this shortened season. Compared to last years 22nd ranked average attendance of 15,396 (87.4%), the New Jersey Devils have an average of 17,318 fans in attendance (98.3%).
To start off the season, the Devils had 16 straight sellouts dating back to the last game of the 2011-2012 regular season.
There have only been two games the Devils did not sellout this season, both happened to be against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The first was on Feb. 7 with 14,802 (84 percent) and again on March 5 with 15,229 (86 percent). Since then, the Devils have had six consecutive sellouts.
Some fans may have continued to attend the games due to the Stanley Cup Final run last season, but I believe it has been from a growing interest in the NHL since the 2005 NHL Lockout.
Although there was a lockout this season, the return from it made fans extremely excited to go watch their favorite teams take the ice.
Even the last place team in the NHL, the Florida Panthers, have sold out 100 percent of their games this season.
Many people have doubted the potential of a popular team in New Jersey with a large concentration of teams within a short distance.
Another doubt was that people would not come to Newark. Barry Melrose said, “It looks great on the inside, but don’t go outside, especially if you have a wallet or anything else, because the area around the building is awful.” This was said in 2007 when the stadium first opened, but that is still an ignorant statement. Melrose later apologized for his comments and accepted a tour by Newark Mayor Corey Booker, of the surrounding area.
Now if you are a Devils fan you automatically know that this statement is false. Many bars and restaurants around Newark and the atmosphere is great. Places like Dinosaur BBQ, Loft 47, and Brick City Bar and Grill all have great food, great service, and have welcomed many fans into their establishments.
Blocks away from the stadium are safe as well. Personally, every game I went to last year, I parked close to ten blocks away from the Rock. Never once did I feel unsafe in Newark. The people there are very respectful and treat you very well.
The Devils continue to prove critics wrong and maintains an almost perfect attendance throughout the shortened season. Expect the Devils to sell out their upcoming game Monday night against the New York Islanders.