The New Jersey Devils, by professional sports standards, are still a young organization. The National Hockey League boasts some of the oldest franchises in North American pro sports, including the Montreal Canadiens, who will celebrate their 100th anniversary this decade. The NHL Stanley Cup is also the oldest professional sports trophy in North America.
The Devils came into existence on June 30, 1982, when the former Colorado Rockies were renamed the New Jersey Devils, and played their first game the following October. Playing in an already-crowded hockey market (the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders all play their home games within 90 miles of the Devils' home ice, with the Rangers just a stone's throw away in Manhattan) coupled with the young franchise's initial losing ways made it difficult to secure a fanbase in the early and mid-'80s.
Since their inception, however, the New Jersey Devils have gone from what Wayne Gretzky once referred to as a "Mickey Mouse operation" to one of the most solid and successful in the NHL.