It’s Over

So, you guys were wondering why I hadn’t posted anything as far as a schedule goes and so on…

This is why.

It’s over.  The Trenton Devils are gone.  And the New Jersey Devils killed them.

I’ll have a much longer post on this when I have time to gather my thoughts…but, it’s over guys.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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50 Responses to “It’s Over”

  1. Bob Smyth Says:

    Lou did kill the T-Devils. Now, how about bringing the AHL Albany Devils down here? Albany has the worst attendance record in the AHL, and its building’s lease is year-to-year.

  2. chiarams Says:

    Albany has a 5 year lease and bringing the AHL Devils to Trenton would make no difference as long as Lou and Chris are manning the ship.

    I’d love to launch into a tirade about what the Devils did to this market but just I don’t have it in me.

    Looking forward to your thoughts Mike.

  3. Langhorne ?????? Says:

    On what I read, the Trenton 8 year lease is wiped out by the folding of the echo franchise, so no need to bring Albany down here.

    Looks like no hockey formus in the near future

  4. Langhorne ?????? Says:

    Good luck to John, Kristen and the rest of the office guys, they don’t deserve this.

  5. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Forgive me, but…it’s a shitty day.

    There’s really no other way to put it.

    So this is how the true Thrashers fans feel…knowing they gave more of a shit than their ownership did.

  6. JB Says:

    What happens to the arena now? The T-Devils if nothing else provided 36 dates per year of concessions, parking, etc. Now all it has is the Trenton Steel indoor football team (6 dates per year) and the odd concert or show. Even the PrimeTime Shootout basketball event left town a couple of years ago.

    I think Sun National Bank Center just became a white elephant.

  7. Herb Says:

    It’s called poor management and no marketing. Lou and his kid could have done so much more with this team and the great facility but they just never seemed to try. The hockey fans are still here as we all saw when they hoisted Scott,s number to a packed house. If the organization would have just put even a little effort into marketing the team to bring fans into the house it could have been great. I will miss all the players and wish them the best of luck in their careers!!!

  8. Section 106, Row F Says:

    The ECHL’s Trenton Devils will suspend play beginning with the 2011-12 season. The New Jersey Devils are restructuring the organization’s player development system to be more in line with other NHL franchises. In fact, Trenton was the only ECHL team that was completely owned by an NHL club. The New Jersey Devils organization would like to thank all of the fans who have supported the Trenton Devils the past five seasons.”

    AND THEY HAVE BEEN COLLECTING MONTHLY PAYMENTS FOR SEASON TICKETS SINCE MAY!

  9. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Hockey fans ARE still here, that brings hope for the future

  10. JB Says:

    Trentondevilsfan, you are right that there are fans still there. The question is who would want to buy the team and keep it in that market, especially in this economy.

    While the Devils certainly deserve most of the blame for ruining the franchise, Mercer County and the City of Trenton also share responsibility. The development they vowed to bring to the area around the arena has never materialized. The arena itself is nice, but it’s in a city with a corrupt government and a crime problem with nothing else around there to attract people. Attendance was falling even before the Bermans sold the team.

  11. Langhorne Devil Says:

    Not to go all columbo, but one thing still seems strange. Why did the echl register the titans logo recently.

    Could it be that potential buyers didn’t want to be saddled with 8 year lease. So echl disolved franchise, and will create a new one that can renegoriate with mercer!
    (From what I read the get out of the 8 year was only if the franchise folded!)

    —–

    On a side note, as mike says he has known for a while, doesn’t devs taking money out of our bank accounts -
    Equal theft (or acquiring funds by deception) any good lawyers out there!

  12. trentondevilsfan Says:

    ECHL may just have old jerseys to sell. They’re not the most on the ball organization at times either so…who knows. I’m wondering how solid the footing is on that Allentown arena project. Surely a nice arena with a fancy new jumbotron would be interesting to the Flyers now. It took a bit, but they got the empty arena they wanted. I don’t mean for this year, or even next, but it seems a golden opportunity. It seems the most logical answer to the ‘who would come here’ question.

    I still feel kicked in the gut. I mean…knew it was coming, this year, next year, sooner rather than later but….still…..

    As long as hockey comes back, with people who know what the #(*^(@$ they’re doing, I’m there.

  13. Langhorne Devil Says:

    I agree tdf.. i was wondering if the phantoms were an option.. you have to think they would get crowds of 5k at least…

    Its so sad, we have met so many great people following them.. we may have been rubbish, but we still all went week in week out.

    Ill even miss the banter on here. Mike – maybe you could turn this over into just being a general hockey blog.. so we still have somewhere to talk hockey

  14. Langhorne Devil Says:

    Interesting.. echl announcement is not saying its completely over..

    PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Wednesday announced that the New Jersey Devils have decided to cease operations of the Trenton Devils ECHL Membership.

    The ECHL is in the process of reviewing potential options for the Trenton Membership for the 2011-12 season while simultaneously working on a revised schedule.

  15. chiarams Says:

    I think the league registered the Titans name if by some miracle they found a buyer, so that the former brand could be resurrected easily.

    I think the market needs a break – a year or two – before someone can try hockey here again. I’d love to see the Phantoms come in, mostly just to piss off Lou, but that’ll take Allentown screwing the pooch (which they’ve done once already so anything is possible).

    One has to wonder if this isn’t a sign to Brian McKenna and the rest of the idiots running the ECHL that a AA league with a nationwide footprint simply can’t work. The turnover in this league is a joke, has always been a joke, and will continue to be a joke. You can only survive so long on thriving on newly constructed arenas before you run out of markets that are willing to build arenas.

  16. JB Says:

    An entirely new franchise being ready in time for this coming season is simply not practical at this point. The new owner(s) would have less than three months to close on the franchise rights, set up the office, hire employees and a coaching staff, secure affiliation agreements with NHL and AHL teams and do pre-launch marketing and ticket sales before training camps start in late September.

    Even if the ECHL finds a new owner for the Trenton market quickly, it’s better to give them next season to make sure everything is in place and set to go.

  17. chiarams Says:

    Someone call Rich Lisk and hand him the keys. He built the Titans from nothing. I’d love to see him do it again.

  18. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Seconded on Lisk! The E’s flakiness is one reason I would rather the (hated, admittedly) Flyers bring their AHL team here. The arena is definitely AHL worthy.

  19. ForeverTitans Says:

    Such a sad day! I had my first date with my wife at a Titans game and have been bringing my son since he was three months old. He will be devastated when I have to tell him! I sure will miss hockey in Trenton!

  20. Titans04 Says:

    Lisk was named the GM of a hockey team in north jersey a short time ago (fhl maybe). And yes the attendance was declining slightly year to year but they were still at the league average as the Titans, the last two years under the devils I believe they were damn near less than half the league average. Crap just look at the magic they pulled in Albany in their first year, shittiest team with the worst attendance, and the attendance dropped significantly from a team that was a lame duck the prior season.

    This falls squarely on the Lamoriellos and JVB who less than a year ago at the tour stop in Trenton said they were totally commited to trenton and eventually all three teams would be in NJ, Just another assclown spreading nothing but empty promises.

  21. Titans04 Says:

    https://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newjerseyoutlaws.com%2F&h=LAQDNvkiY

  22. TrentonPwnedFlorida Says:

    I dont want to play games right now. Yes I denied this was going to happen, because I didnt WANT it to happen. Ive gone to these games almost since day 1, and now its gone. Theres blame all around. Id get more into it but…in the end…It doesn’t matter does it? Bitching on here , or getting into it with some of you isnt going to bring my goddamn team back.

  23. chiarams Says:

    http://www.insidesocal.com/reign/2011/07/out_of_left_field_the_trenton.html

    “Out of left field” – hilarious.

  24. Tom Says:

    Hey All-

    Truly a sad day for this hockey loving family. I LOVED everything about going to the games with my kids…. I didn’t mind the losing. I didn’t mind the high priced concessions— all of that goes with professional sports.

    This was OUR team. Something my kids and I could bond over on Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons.

    My kids cried. Actually balling tears…. they asked me about their favorite players— guys that couldn’t have been nicer to them. They signed every autograph with a smile. Guys like David Caruso and Trevor Kell who answered every question the kids had. Guys like Andy Thomas— he saw my son wearing a Trenton Devils jersey (at a road game) and CAME OVER TO CHAT with us. Guys like Jeff Prough— who saw my daughter in Reading with sign that read “Prough’s People” and came over to give her a puck. I will never forget her smile that night….. Matt Vokes who saw my son’s jersey in Elmira and made sure he got him a puck. Ryan Ginand— we went to see him in Bridgeport after he was promoted to Albany— and like Vokes, he gave my son a puck when he saw that T-Devs jersey. Ryan Hayes who made my son laugh wildly when he drew a mustache on a picture of Ryan Ginand. Again– these were OUR guys.

    I will miss those road trips…. twice last year to Reading— seeing them win two times in that building when their fans were killing us because we wore our T-Devs jerseys. Or Elmira— whose fans treated us like family even when their team was KILLING ours.

    And many, many thanks to the T-Devs staff— Miss Kristen always had a smile for the kids. She made the whole experience special. The kids felt like they had a “friend” at the arena each night.

    I feel the tears building in my eyes as I type this stuff. A little piece of my family went away yesterday. Killed by the parent club’s focus on profit. The minor leagues are supposed to be about developing players. Profits are an afterthought— the parent clubs used to look at the minors as a “cost of doing business”. That has all changed.

    Admittedly, I am a fan of the New York Rangers. I struggled each night putting that Trenton Devils jersey on— the one with the NJ Devils logo right in the middle. But I did it because they were OUR team. I spoke to many an executive about their marketing approach. Told them they were in Flyers/Rangers markets and that a return to the Titans logo days might be smart. They told me it wouldnt happen because the Lamoriellos wanted it this way. Some nonsense about growing the brand.

    And now it’s gone. And like many families, I am left to search for alternatives. I already checked the Princeton Tigers mens hockey site. It is a possibility. I also await what the leauge might do as far as a replacement. I am also hopeful that some tattered AHL franchise might swoop in and give us hockey. Although I am not optimistic about any of these alternatives– except maybe the Princeton Tigers deal, its all I have right now. I feel like someone close to me died yesterday. Overly dramatic? Maybe…. but a piece of my life was just “removed”. And one thing is for certain— OUR team is gone. And unlike the players on it, I have so few answers to the questions being asked by those little faces who adored being there to watch.

  25. Langhorne ?????? Says:

    Well said Tom.

  26. Benni Hanna Says:

    From May 18, 2007:

    Friday marked what one person called the New Jersey Devils putting the “final stamp,” on their purchase of the capital city’s minor-league hockey team.

    The franchise that came into existence in 1999 as the Trenton Ti­tans officially was renamed the Trenton Devils at a press conference at the Trenton Marriott at Lafayette Yard.

    The new jersey matches the NHL club’s in color and style. In­cluded is the NHL Devils’ familiar forked NJ crest, with Trenton — headed by a horned T and N — scripted in an arc across the top.

    ”Having our logo here is a total commitment to the city of Tren­ton,” said Devils general manager/president/CEO Lou Lamoriello.

  27. Benni Hanna Says:

    Tom,

    Love the emotion in your post. The one statement I would take exception with is about developing players.

    IMO, this is precisely why hockey died in Trenton. The Devils used Trenton as a training ground and never had any intention of developing a winner. Even Scott Bertoli acknowledged that in today’s Trentonian article. I believe that they felt just because the team was in NJ everyone would become a Devils fan and grudgingly accept the fact that this was good the long-term success of the big team.

    As evidence of that look at some of the players they signed during the season. Plus, the fact that players could only be called up to Albany was a recipe for failure.

    It would be easy to go on and on about the failings of Lou. From cronyism (his son as GM?) to nepotism (how many Pandolfos, Zajacs, and Giontas can you sign?) to the fact that he didn’t realize that, yes, there are collegiate programs beyond the Big East.

    It’s apparent he’s lost his mojo, if it ever existed, and now we’re paying the price.

    While we lamented the losing and mismanagement of the team over the last several years now it’s truly going to be a long winter for Trenton area hockey fans.

  28. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Wow Tom, that was good stuff. I’m a Devils fan, been one since 1985, and I feel like my favorite team, in my favorite sport, just bent me over. Clearly this is where things have been headed pretty much since they got here though. They bought a franchise that needed a boost, and pushed it right off a cliff. Changing the name wasn’t the death knell, it was all the stuff they didn’t do afterward.

    I look at the T Devils bobbleheads on my desk at work and just feel….bitter.

  29. trentondevilsfan Says:

    I think, player wise, the problem was they didn’t understand the ECHL. Why would a player with potential sign with an organization that limited his upgrade path to a grand total of one team? When there were two other teams relatively nearby in Elmira & Reading that they could sign with and be able to go to any AHL team that came calling? That really limited the pool of players to choose from. Also, if we’re being honest, the E really isn’t much of a development league. Sure, they talk about the guys who’ve made it to the NHL. The list consists of goalies (who often take longer to develop their game), coaches, goons, and guys who played 10 games or less in the E. Ruslan Fedotenko is an example. Solid journeyman NHL player, played in the E for a cup of coffee so he’s on the list. Most of the guys on ECHL teams are there because they love to play and it gives them an opportunity to live the dream for a couple years before moving on to whatever they move on to. The pinnacle for most is getting an AHL callup…where doesn’t really matter. That’s just the way it is. The Devils tried to turn it into something it just isn’t. Who knows, maybe they just believe ECHL marketing speak too much.

    On ice, my lasting memory of the T Devils will be a team that didn’t quit. Sure they phoned it in on some nights – let’s be honest it happens with all of us sometimes. But by and large they played hard, and they kept plugging away. I’ll never forget the drama and excitement of their only playoff series…the fierceness of PL3…unfortunately thinking of it right now only increases the feeling of emptiness in my gut.

  30. chiarams Says:

    Conspiracy theories aside, ECHL.com has pulled the press release about the team “suspending” operations off of its website.

    This is just totally bizarre.

  31. Marc Gulli Says:

    I noticed that too!!! What is going on?

  32. trentondevilsfan Says:

    I’m gonna go with someone goofed and deleted it by accident. This way I can be surprised if it’s something else but not get my hopes up.

  33. Devilsin2012 Says:

    I think the bottom line is that the team wasn’t winning lately. Winning fills seats. I don’t think Lou intentionally wants to fail at anything – so why keep ripping on him? All I know is my 3 year old son will be very disapointed. Hopefully some form of hockey will return. I think the ECHL should demand that they play this year – since the team set a schedule and resigned a few of the players.

  34. Tony Kaifuch Says:

    I don’t want to offend anyone but the reason why there is no hockey in trenton today is you the fans. Both Flyer and Devil fans are to blame. Flyer fans for being so “alienated” when the team changed names and gave up on the team and Devil fans who didn’t show up. Time to cry now. Listen I don’t like the Yankees but I still go to see the Trenton Thunder play….

  35. chiarams Says:

    So the fans should just bend over and accept an inferior product where upper management has made it clear that winning isn’t the ultimate goal?

    As for the Thunder, the Yankees are savvy enough to realize that if they named the team the Trenton Yankees, it would be difficult to expect a big chunk of the large contingents of Mets and Phillies fans to support them. The Trenton Thunder have a proven brand in the market that would be silly to abandon after years of success on and off the field. The Titans had that (albeit to a lesser degree than the Thunder) and the Devils didn’t think twice about tossing it aside.

  36. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Then there was the double whammy of not marketing the team, so you had Flyers fans leaving and they didn’t work near hard enough to get other people to show up. It was suggested on the Devils board that they didn’t court North Jersey fans because Lou didn’t want them competing with the big club. While I don’t know if I buy that it was curious that they clearly pressed their meager marketing efforts even deeper in Flyer country than Trenton.

    And it’s Lou’s fault because it was his half baked idea, and he put his half-baked kid in charge of the minor league teams which have done nothing but fail since he took over.

  37. Shtikl Says:

    Sorry, Ash. Will miss your photos. Hope you get an off-season gig.

    Yes, the local staff don’t deserve this. It’s a big hardship for them, I hope they land on their feet. JB, I hope you’re wrong, but it’s up to the arena management to find alternatives. I know up here in Low Hell, the Tsongas has been empty almost all the nights the Dweebs would have been in town. They found a religious group willing to infest the place on Sundays but nothing else. OTOH I’m not sorry the new owners aren’t profiting, the big boss there is a mean-spirited jerk. Not like Lou, who has no idea how to run a minor league hockey team and can’t or won’t delegate authority so somebody else can do it for him. Can he learn from his mistakes, or is Albany next on the *hit parade?

    TDF, I’m glad you remember the players fondly. I miss the L-Dweebles, and Tom, I know what you mean. My spy and good friend was heartbroken when the L-Dweebs lost their last playoff game and it was finally time to say good-bye to everybody and bury the dream.

  38. JB Says:

    Devilsin2012, winning alone won’t put fans in the seats. Until this past season, the NJ Devils won a lot over the last two decades yet never drew well; they couldn’t even sell out home playoff games.

    This is especially true in minor league sports where many of the people in the stands are there for the entertainment experience rather than the team itself. People like you are the exception, not the rule. Go to a Thunder game on a summer Saturday night – they’ll have 7,500 people in the stands and maybe 20% of them are there because they have a rooting interest in the team or players. The rest are there for the entertainment experience – the promotions, the kids running around the bases with Boomer, the postgame fireworks, etc. They couldn’t care less if the Thunder won 14-1 or lost 14-1. Look at the Thunder’s attendance figures over the years – they’ve drawn over 400,000 attendees even when the team finished 10 games under .500.

    For a minor league sports franchise to succeed, you need to have an ENTERTAINING product, and you need to MARKET THAT ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE. The Devils were mediocre at the former and unthinkably bad (or apathetic) at the latter. That’s what killed the franchise. The losing didn’t help, but it did not kill them either. Nor would have a winning team alone saved them.

  39. Langhorne ?????? Says:

    Tony,

    The problem is the fans on here Did attend. most of us on here (tdf, T04, devildawg and myself and others) are/were season ticket fans. And most of us are not NJ fans. Ddawg and I are bruins fans. T04 is a rangers fan (I think).

    Yet we did care about the TRENTON team even though it was being slowly killed by the Devs..

    I still hope something magical is going to happen – but know in my heart of hearts that will prob not happen and if it does it may be 1…2 years down the line.

    It still doesn’t stop us feeling betrayed and upset atthe loss of our team – as put wonderfully by Tom above

  40. Langhorne ?????? Says:

    Sadly jb is correct. Most of us on here went for the hockey – but that doesn’t fill the seats on it’s own. Tha horrible phrase “game day experience” is so true.

    There was no attempt at building an atmosphere pre game last year. At least the year before the lights were off and trying to build up to game time nicely. That stopped this season – I asked why one day and just got told “no idea”

  41. Langhorne ?????? Says:

    Go to any minor and most major league baseball game. The biggest cheers are when they throw out t-shirts and even more mind numbingly when people do the f’ing wave

  42. Titans04 Says:

    I’ll beat the dead horse but again less than a calendar year ago JVB at his Trenton tour stop reaffirmed his commitment to Trenton and even eventually having all 3 teams playing in NJ. He even went so far as to say they completely mis-judged the hold that the Flyers had on the area and thought they might ruffle some fans feathers by changing the name but in the end that would lead to more fans over time. He then when questioned quickly acknowledged that they failed. He admitted they completely dropped the ball as far as marketing, but assured us he was making big changes so that they could right the ship and then he mentioned their 10 year lease as a symbol of just how big their commitment was to Trenton. Sadly we now see just how serious he was about that commitment, just let the league know at the BOG meetings they had about 2 weeks to find a buyer or they were ceasing operations, for the life of me I can’t see how anybody can defend that especially the way they handled it.

    And I assure you if it was the rangers that ran the team into the ground I would be even more upset than the devils doing it. It’s disgraceful to me what they did and in the end the few of us that are here all lose.

    For the life of me I can’t see how this is the fans fault, if they rolled out a quality team year after year maybe just maybe but crap they rolled out one mediocore team after another, And were content to just ride it out, winning as most of us have said never even entered their minds.

    How many markets are out there in the minor league world that will repeatedly support weak teams year after year? maybe there are some and Chairams knows the minors well, am I dead wrong here.

    For the record I would have love to have been dead wrong about the way this was going to played out, it would have been the best crow I’ve eatten to date. It was just too obvious to me that we could see this train coming all along.

  43. Langhorne Devil Says:

    Ok. Echl site has now removed the Devils logo from the top of their page and replaced it with an ECHL logo and when you roll over it. it now says TRENTON – without the devils..

  44. Langhorne Devil Says:

    http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=318634

    Seems to sound like there is still a chance (allbeit small)

  45. Marc Gulli Says:

    I’m flipping out, I just saw the same thing. I’m praying the Titans name appear sometime tomorrow.

  46. Langhorne Devil Says:

    unless echl are working miracles – we wont see anything soon..but while the devils corpse is cold.. maybe trenton hockey still has a pulse

  47. Tom Says:

    Thanks for sll the kind comments on my post. It truly did come from the heart and was riddled with the emotion of the moment. My kids teardrops drove me to type…. thank you all for reading.

    I have guarded optimisim with some of the talk about the Titans re-emerging…. I will hold off on purchasing Princeton Tigers season tickets til the end of the summer to see how this all unfolds. And even if that happens, my heart will be in that sweet lil arena in that rundown little city supporting a team I have come to love. Hope to see you all there with me soon…. and if we do all get what we want— feel free to stop by and see the guy who sits with his kids in section 110, row cc seats 1, 2 & 3. I’d love to shake a friendly hand.

  48. chiarams Says:

    “How many markets are out there in the minor league world that will repeatedly support weak teams year after year? maybe there are some and Chairams knows the minors well, am I dead wrong here.”

    Not many. Maybe Colorado. Fort Wayne continues to turn out to watch god awful CHL/”I”HL lower-AA hockey. As well as the westies draw, their operating costs are a lot higher than a team in the NE because of travel.

    Hershey’s attendance was lower during the Avalanche trainwreck era, but they still drew in the 6k range.

    Look at Rochester – you’re talking about a franchise that was the class of minor league hockey during the mid/late 80′s that thanks to Steve Donner and the Florida Panthers drew T-Devil like crowds most of the last two seasons in an arena with 5,000 more seats.

  49. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Interesting bit about the echl website…..and good points in the Reading article that this is about more than Trenton…

  50. Titans04 Says:

    hover over the ECHL logo and now it reads Trenton Devils again. Name on the page when you open it says Trenton but still has all the devils info. Wish it meant something but I kinda doubt it,

    Comparing the Thunder and what the Devils did here is comparing apples and oranges. The Thunder go out of their way to entertain their fans and they’ve won a couple championships. That’s a winning combination and polar opposite to what we were served.

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