Last night was my first experience inside the brand new arena for the New Jersey Devils in Newark, the Prudential Center. I went to see my Blueshirts take on their rival NJ Devils.
Let's get the positive out of the way. The arena is beautiful and extremely nice. It is a great place to watch a game and even the site lines from the top are good.
I really enjoyed the arena. Everything was clean and there were plenty of food options and bathrooms. It was a top of the line experience to watch the game.
However, despite how great the arena was and that the Rangers scored five goals to win 5-2, my experience would rate as the worst game I have ever attended. And I have probably attended close to 500 games in my lifetime.
I have been to Yankee-Red Sox, Yankee-Mets, Rangers-Devils, Ranger-Islander, Jets-Patriots games before and never felt threatened to root for the team I like. Nor have I ever experienced fans of the other team being threatened for just cheering for their team.
This all changed last night. For the first time ever, I felt that I was in danger simply because I was wearing a Ranger t-shirt. I think most of it was the section I was in. It was filled with the lowest class of people that I have ever seen grouped together.
The things they were yelling were offensive, rude and mean spirited. I have no problems with good-natured talking between fans of opposing teams, but you can tell when it is mean spirited and an attack against you. It completely ruins the joy of the game.
Security was completely unprepared for the rowdiness of the fans. Less then five minutes into the game, Ranger and Devil fans were getting into an argument which turned into a brawl between security and the Ranger fans in the row.
Yankee Stadium security would have shown up in 30 seconds into an argument, broke it up and not let it escalate into a brawl.
The class of the fans at the game had to be the lowest of the low. The stuff that was heard in that section was so bad it cannot be repeated. I went to the game with my father looking to enjoy a good hockey game not to be attacked.
Some woman in the section even told me "I was next" following the brawl in the stands. Plus, the classless fans were all singing "Hey you suck" to the beat of a song following a Devil goal.
How is this a family friendly environment? It is one thing for the fans to start a cheer but to have the organization encourage it by continually playing the song—that's disgraceful. Buying a ticket does not give you the right to yell whatever you want at whomever you want.
The Devils are well run on the ice and they have some good player development and management. But they are outclassed by every other NY area team (even the Mets). This was truly disgraceful.
They have a great arena, which should be a great place to watch a game. It's unfortunate that the people who call themselves "fans" have to ruin it for everyone.