The Importance of Today

Tonight will obviously be a night to celebrate a great player in the history of the Trenton hockey franchise and a great ambassador to the city and team, Scott Bertoli.

And there will be plenty of time to talk about that during the evening’s festivities.

But tonight will also serve a much larger purpose for the oragnization, and that’s to hopefully get back on the map of local sports fans, who once filled the arena during the team’s early days.

Slowly dwindling attendance was compounded by the fact that many fans felt alienated by the Devils brand being applied to their beloved Trenton Titans franchise…and it’s hard to argue with many of them.  As a fan of a team in the Devils division, but certainly not the Devils, I’d wear a Titans jersey and cheer for the Titans…but you’re not going to get me to do the same for anything with the Devils name on it.

But this is a night to not only remember Scott Bertoli, but to remember the Titans as well.  Ken Daneyko or no Ken Daneyko, this is a Trenton Titans night and a Trenton Titans event.  The banner raised to the rafters of Sovereign Bank Arena will be a Titans banner, and many of Bertoli’s former Titans teammates will be in attendance and participating in the ceremonies.

And this night is the organization’s big chance to get some of those Titans fans back.  This is their chance to let them know that they are still trying, and they are making an effort to do things the right way, despite lackluster attendance this season.

And it’s also an opportunity to attract some new fans all together as well.  Take this example from last night…

Inbetween arriving at the arena and the game itself, I met up with a friend of mine who happens to be a scout for a Major League Baseball team.  We headed out to a local bar/restaurant about two miles or so away from the arena for a quick meal.  The waitress noticed my Trenton Devils press pass, and two things became relatively apparent…

One, if Lil’ Wayne has got game like EA, mine’s like Coleco Vision.  I had no shot.

But two, and far more importantly, she had no idea who or what the Trenton Devils were.  And this was a sports bar.

So maybe the buzz will come back after tonight.  Maybe a Trenton hockey game will be the cool place to be once more.  And maybe I won’t order the cheese fries before work again, either.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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10 Responses to “The Importance of Today”

  1. JB Says:

    You just hope that the organization doesn’t use tonight to push the Devils brand. I can live with Daneyko as the MC. But if the number 19 banner is in Devils colors and not Titans colors, there is going to be hell to pay.

  2. chiarams Says:

    Agreed 100% Mike. They have to show those that haven’t been coming that this team is pretty darn good.

  3. Al (Philly Devil) Says:

    I sat this game out for obvious reasons. Hope everyone had fun. I could carless if it’s a “cool thing” to see a Trenton game. Plain and simple for the first time I can say that your Rangers colors are showing through and through Mike. It’s sad.

    SOUTH NEW JERSEY IS DEVILS COUNTRY. Not Flyers ..not Rangers, root for who you want to but Daneyko deserves to be there becuase it’s a DEVILS team and he is a Devil. Congrats to Bartoli.

    Also, for the people who thought the Devils would put his name and number on a T Devs jersey, you’re comical. The Devs do things classy and not stupid/corny (like most Rangers/Flyers ceremonies.).

  4. Tdevilsfan Says:

    Wow. What an amazing night. (ahem Al, the jerseys had Bertoli 19 patches). The ceremony was very well done and brought back lots of memories.

    The game itself was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever witnessed in person. Yikes

  5. chiarams Says:

    “SOUTH NEW JERSEY IS DEVILS COUNTRY. ”

    No, no it’s not.

    No part of New Jersey is “Devils Country” no matter how delusional you want to be.

    North Jersey is Rangers Country, South Jersey is Flyers Country.

    That’s why they can’t sell out a home game unless the Rangers or Icelanders are in town.

    Not sure anyone thought they’d put Bertoli’s name on a Devils jersey. Pretty sure he’d prefer they didn’t.

    Tonight was the first time that SBA felt like a hockey barn in years. Probably the last time it’ll feel that way until, well…probably forever.

  6. BitterBeerFace Says:

    AL –

    THIS IS IN CAPS FOR A REASON. STOP BEING A D-BAG, HIS NAME IS BERTOLI. SCOTT BERTOLI. HE WAS NEVER A FLYER, AND PLAYED FOR THE TITANS, UNDER DEVILS OWNERSHIP. SHOW SOME CLASS AND GET HIS NAME CORRECT.

    Honestly Al, get back on the medication. To have a thought that any part of Jersery is Devils country is something makes you certifiable. Devils fans are spread throughtout the state, and across the country. However, there is a high concentration of Flyers fans south of I-195 and and high concentration of Rangers fans north of I-195. Maybe the fact the Rangers have been in NY as an Original Six, and the Flyers since 1967 with the Next Six has something to do with the fan base those organization have built up. The NJ Devils have done their part to appeal to a number of people who felt no pull either way, but to ignore the TRUTH, come on. It is in no way an insult to you, the rest of the Devils fans, the Devils Organization, or NJ. Loyalties die hard, and hockey loyalties are just as strong as football and baseball. Many Flyers and Rangers fans can look back and remember when they went to the first game at the Garden or Spectrum. We can look back at remember the days of watching our teams on WWOR-9 or PRISM. I don’t remember watching a Devils game until 1993 (except for that nice run in 86/87?) on ESPN. Your team has done well promoting itself these last 16 years, but the first 10 were dismal – and let’s be honest getting people to the Brendan Byrne Arena?

    Please, take your pills, accept the other kids on the playground – AND LEARN HIS NAME – SAY IT WITH ME…..BERTOLI. SCOTT BERTOLI.

  7. Mike M Says:

    Al, as a Devils fan for over 20 years I’m going to agree with the others here.

    Fact of life is there are going to be Flyers and Rangers fans in New Jersey, accept it, its not that big a deal. I think all sides have their share of nitwits. I have roots in both North Jersey and Philly I know plenty of respectful intelligent fans on all sides as well. We all have passion and are going to dislike the rivals.

    Outside the on-ice product, I think its no secret the Devils did a very poor job promoting themselves to potential new ones for a long time (which as far as I could tell, they thought just existing was enough). I think since Vanderbeek took over and the Pru Center opened they’re finally starting to do a lot of things right.

    As far as Trenton is concerned I’ve been to 2-4 games a year when they were Titans and Devils. I think interest was on the decline before the Devils came in, and if I’m not mistaken the Flyers pulled out did they not?
    I also think that “existing is enough” mentality alienated a lot of old fans right at the begining of the transition.

    I wasn’t there last night but I hope it was an olive branch of sorts to bring people back regardless of their NHL rooting interest. Perhaps with this to some degree they acknowledged the mistakes they made in the transition.

    This team is certainly more entertaining than they were earlier this season.

  8. chiarams Says:

    The Flyers did not pull out per se – The Bermans put the team up for sale and the Devils bought it. The working agreement with the Flyers expired and they moved on for obvious reasons.

    Agreed that they are leaps and bounds better than they were in November.

  9. Mike M Says:

    How are Flyers fans feeling about the Phantoms being brushed aside?

    The ones I know are indifferent. Its such a shame, in the late 90’s when I lived in Philly I was there all the time. IMO almost a better crowd than the NHL level.

  10. Titans4ever Says:

    As far as I know, the Bermans offered the Flyers the Titans and they declined. The Devils were offered next and they took it.

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