FanSided Fandom 250: New Jersey Devils Fans Make The List For First Time

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

After years of being mocked for being a “bad fanbase”, New Jersey Devils fans were recognized as being one of the best fanbases in all of sports and entertainment. It’s a well deserved feat for a rabid group that stands behind this team during the ups and downs.

Today, I woke up to the announcement from the leader of this site FanSided that they released their annual list of the greatest fanbases across sports and entertainment. They compare everyone from the New York Yankees to Star Wars to Swifties to the Starbucks. Literally anything that has fans is eligible to make the list.

Yet, they chose to add this amazing fanbase. I was shocked that this fanbase, which has been extremely fun to be a part of for my 30 years on this Earth, was actually getting recognized on a nation list of fanbases. The Devils came in at 195 overall, and 13th in the NHL.

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For those keeping score, and I sure am, the Devils fanbase out ranks both the New York Rangers and New York Islanders fanbase. I could say mean things about our cross-river rivals, but one lost John Tavares and the other can’t figure out what a rebuild means.

The Devils fanbase came out ahead of 18 other NHL fanbases. That would be unheard of years ago. Everyone would spend their time talking about how the team can’t fill the arena, or that we had our Stanley Cup parade in a parking lot, but this shows that those days are no longer.

FanSided recognizes that the Devils fanbase is quality over quantity. There are obviously more Rangers fans in the league, but I would argue the average Devils fan has more passion than the average Rangers fan.

It sure helps to root for the reigning, defending, undisputed MVP of the league in Taylor Hall. It also helps the Devils made their first run to the postseason in half a decade. It put the team’s fans on the map.

Think about the Devils playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. They were the clear underdog in that matchup, yet the fans came out hollering. They were loud from puck drop to the final buzzer in the team’s first postseason win since losing the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals to the Los Angeles Kings.

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This fanbase has been through so much over the past few years. The team lost Zach Parise to free agency, then Ilya Kovalchuk to retirement. The ownership debacle was finally solved as Josh Harris and David Blitzer came in to buy the team. Ray Shero took over for the longest tenured coach in sports, pushing Lou Lamoriello out the door. The team embraced the tank for one season, and ended up with the number one pick Nico Hischier. They had the biggest swindling when they turned Adam Larsson into Taylor Hall. Brian Boyle signed with the team and was diagnosed with cancer. They lost their goal song because of the past of the man who made it.

That’s a lot of ups and downs for one franchise that’s only been around for 35 years. This all happened since 2012. Now, despite how this currently season is going, it seems like the momentum is still on the up and up.

This is an honor the Devils fans deserve. They take their licks, and come back swinging. There are so many little things about this fanbase that make it one of the most fun in the world. There are its bad apples like with any fanbase, but overall they are mostly level headed and make rational thoughts whether the team wins or loses. Most teams can’t say that, and that’s why we’re here and they aren’t.