Reviewing the new-look Prudential Center


While I wasn’t able to make it to the home opener, I was able to attend the Devils’ game on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center against the New York Rangers. Over the summer, the Devils have been teasing fans with their new upgrades on the arena. Now that the home part of the schedule is underway, I’m going to take a look at the things that have changed in the Prudential Center. There are many good changes that took place, but also some changes that are not so pleasant.

3D Pre-Game Show

This is by far the coolest addition the Prudential Center made for the 2014-2015 season. The old pre-game show was a simple montage of players and moments on the center-ice scoreboard set to the song A Warrior’s Call by Volbeat. I had no issues with the way they used to hype up the crowd before the game, although I do miss the old school Hell’s Bells by AC/DC that used to ring out at Continental Airlines Arena. I don’t think anything will ever top that, at least for me, but this 3D show is something else. It begins with NJ Devil skating around a dark arena with a neon red pitchfork. He then touches the ice and it sets on fire (in 3D of course; not real fire), before being turned into an icy surface as someone in a Devils’ uniform comes out skating around with a Devils’ flag. It’s all pretty awesome, but then the real fun starts. The person with the flag slams the pole on the ice and cracks it; it then falls apart revealing a montage of current players and previous classic moments in Devils’ history such as Jason Arnott’s Stanley Cup clinching double-overtime goal in 2000. The whole presentation is fabulous; I can’t wait to see what else the Devils can do with this system they built.

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Concourse Decor

While I didn’t get to sample any of the new food items, previous experiences tell me that it’s going to be delicious. If you haven’t had Cattlemen’s BBQ sauce, you have to try some next time you’re at the Prudential Center; it’s the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever had. What I can talk about, however, is the new look of the concourses such as the concession stands and stores that have been built since last season. The lower concourse is pretty much the same as it was last year except that the Devils have added a few new wrinkles. They built a small store that is just outside the Fire Lounge and also have an area behind the main escalators where all New Jersey high school hockey jerseys are showcased.

The upper concourse, on the other hand, is a different land than it’s been in years past. Immediately when you go up the main escalator you’re greeted by an ode to the boardwalk. There are pictures of the boardwalk on the wall with a big red “BOARDWALK” sign above it. The actual boardwalk concession stand looks like you’re actually at the beach and it’s really well done. As you walk around the upper concourse, all the former grill concessions outside sections 212 and 229 have been replaced with new, beautiful looking concessions. There are so many different food options that everyone should be able to find something they like. The upper concourse has so much personality now. To see the arena upgrades, go to Tom Gulitti’s photos on Twitter (@TGfireandice) and check it out for yourself. I’m very impressed with what the Devils did.

Noise Levels

While the new features of the Prudential Center were mostly positive, the one glaring negative was the sound levels of the PA system. The noise was so loud that I couldn’t hear the person next to me. It wasn’t just one thing either, it was everything – the anthem, the goal song, the music during intermissions, the bits during commercial breaks, and so on. When the referee would finally drop the puck and play picked up again, it was such an amazing feeling because it was actually peaceful. I understand that the Devils want to create an energy level in the arena, but this was just too much. Instead of creating an atmosphere fans want to be a part of, what they’re going to end up doing is alienating them. It’s not an exaggeration either, it was easily the loudest PA system I’ve ever heard. I related it to putting your smart phone on full volume and holding the speaker directly up to your ear for a few hours. I love the idea of a loud arena, but not in that way.

Overall, I love the direction the Prudential Center is going in. The Devils have a state-of-the-art arena in which to grow. If they bring the noise down a bit, going to Devils games will be a great experience for the whole family.