All in all, I thought the Trenton organization did a nice job with Scott Bertoli Night. It was nice to see a lot of people in the building again, for starters. There were a lot of Titans jerseys, and you could overhear a lot of old friends who hadn’t been there in a while catching up with one another before the game.
I was walking around the concourse during the first intermission, and it was full of people either mingling outside or at the concession stands. I actually had to wait for about 10 minutes in a line for some Munchkins at Dunkin Donuts…and ummm, yeah that didn’t turn out to be an outstanding idea, but that’s not the point. The point is, is that there were actually people there on Saturday. And it was good to see.
- The ceremony itself was well done. Despite the fact that you’d rather have someone who actually has some sort of relationship with the guest of honor and isn’t obviously reading off of a sheet — which was my only original criticism of the selection, by the way — Ken Daneyko was tolerable. The video tribute — both versions — was well done, and I was impressed that they even had some of that old footage.
- Having been to nine NHL jersey retirements now (Daneyko, Scott Stevens, Harry Howell, Andy Bathgate, Cam Neely, Bob Gainey, Mike Richter, Adam Graves and Mike Gartner) it was very interesting to be a part of one where I got an inside look at all the planning that goes into it. Jim Leahy and I had several conversations about what this meant to the organization and the ideas they were kicking around for it. This night meant a lot to a lot of people in this organization, and many people worked very hard to bring it to fruition.
- It was a nice touch to bring in as many of Bertoli’s teammates as they could find, as well as to have Mike Haviland record a video message.
- While I personally don’t think a 9-7 game is that good, the game itself could go a long way towards bringing people back to the SBA as well. As I said before, SBA hasn’t been the cool place to go for a while — and that’s not indicative of it being a Devils franchise, it’s indicative of Trenton having the second lowest attendance in the league — and maybe a few of the people who either came or came back will want to come again after seeing 16 goals.
- The former players should have been wearing Titans jerseys as well. Considering the loud ovations that many of the players got from the fans, it would have been nice to see them in uniform one more time.
- The artwork presented to Bertoli had the Trenton Devils logo on it, despite the fact he never played for the “Trenton Devils.”
- Bertoli was not made available to the media, nor were any of his teammates. I know that 99 percent of the people reading this won’t care, but I’d have to think that there are some people out there who would have liked to have heard from Bertoli about his thoughts on the night, or from some of his teammates on memories of playing with Bertoli.
- Outside of the free poster that was handed out at the gates, there was no Bertoli merchandise available. I know there were some talks that there would be a few things available, but there ultimately was not. When you’ve got over 6,000 people in your arena, and likely more than half of them are there for Bertoli, you could have probably sold Bertoli toilet paper at $10 a roll and sold out within five minutes.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com