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Vanderbeek gains 100 percent control of Devils

Jan 3, 2013, 12:11 PM EDT

Jeff Vanderbeek, New Jersey Devils Getty Images

It wasn’t easy, but Jeff Vanderbeek has retained control of the New Jersey Devils and is now the sole owner of the club.

Per The Record, Vanderbeek was able to refinance the franchise’s substantial debt and buy out his partners.

“Today’s announcement is good news for Devils fans though I fully recognize fans’ frustration with the work stoppage,” Vanderbeek said in a statement.

“Our future is now secure and we can be confident of continued on-ice success. Our team has gone to the Stanley Cup Final five times in the last 17 years and following the most recent run to the Stanley Cup Final last year, we are excited about our future—for Jersey’s team and Prudential Center, home to the 2013 NHL Draft.”

What the news means for the Devils’ future payroll remains to be seen. New Jersey has a number of pending unrestricted free agents, including Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, David Clarkson, Dainius Zubrus, and Marek Zidlicky.

Related: Newark mayor calls Devils owner “a highfalutin, high-class huckster and hustler”

  1. jhuck92 - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    It shouldn’t be too hard to sell seats after that finals run last year.

    • killerpgh - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      Even the year after they won their last Cup (2003) the had bad attendance. In the 03-04 season the finished 23rd in the NHL in home attendance. And they have averaged under 90% capacity in ever year since and less than 75% in 2 of those years. Add in they lost their captain and one of their top players to Free Agency this past summer and the lockout I don’t see their attendance numbers improving to much this or next season regardless of their nice cup run.

  2. vindicatus - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Eh. The teenaged girls who came to games in order to gawk at Captain Silver Medal do not represent a big loss in attendance. Henrique is more worthy of their attention anyway. Keep on hating on the Devils though.

    • killerpgh - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      I wasn’t hating on the Devils. Do you really expect them to improve in attendance this year if there is a season or if this season gets cancelled the next season?

      • martysbetter - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        I don’t expect any team to improve in attendance this year/next year post-lockout.

  3. lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    killerpgh makes a good point. To all you Devils fans, why can’t NJ seem to pack a house? I’ve heard here and there for years that attendance is shyte. You’d think with all the hockey hotbeds in the surrounding areas that the Devils would have no problem bringing folks in.

    • 950003cups - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      Devils have a very tough market to sell in. The fan geography of NJ is as follows:

      North NJ is NY based fans. EIther they moved here from NY, or their parents were fans of the NY teams. Devils only moved here in 1982 and they didn’t give any reasons for fans to change over until 1988.

      Then you have South Jersey which is predominantly Philadelphia fans given its close proximity to that city. Newark is maybe a 90 minute drive from Philly. When the fans were used to a short 20 minute drive to the Philly arenas.

      Then you have Central Jersey which is an even mix of Ranger/Flyer/Devil fans

      Little by little most of the children from north jersey are growing up and are becoming fans of Devils.

    • martysbetter - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      ^ This, plus they play in…ya know, Newark – which sucks in comparison to the majority of cities that host an NHL stadium.

      Not a lot of places to go pre/post game, anywhere a block or two outside the stadium is a crapshoot as far as safety is concerned.

      • mpg44 - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:42 PM

        That’s a crock…. Your saying its any safer to go to New York City or Philly . You also have to look at tv ove the past decade . All of New Jersey is divided up of Philly and New York tv stations . That in combination with a very bad cable deal with sports channel in the eighties and early nineties put them out of every channel line up in nj. It wasn’t till late nineties that MSG took over and actually made them available . I have been a fan since 1989 , and had to listen to the radio till the age of direct tv .

      • martysbetter - Jan 3, 2013 at 8:29 PM

        Hey man, I’m a Devils fan but you cannot deny that Newark is pretty sh*tty.

        I can’t speak to Philadelphia (I haven’t been enough times to form an opinion one way or another) but the area surrounding MSG in Manhattan is a much nicer place than the area surrounding The Rock in Newark.

        It isn’t as bad of a place as it used to be, but it isn’t that great either.

      • mpg44 - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:38 PM

        Trust me …. Philly is a lot worst !! There isn’t anything around the arena , everything is in the downtown area .

  4. 950003cups - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Zach Parise was captain for one season. He’s been here for most of the years with bad attendance. Which clearly means his presence sold jerseys but didn’t put fannies in seats.

    The year when Parise was injured virtually an entire season the Devils made an “humongous big” run in the 2nd half of the season the building was filling up.

    As good as Parise is, he’s never been very entertaining to see live. Most of his goals are from inside of 5 feet. It’s not like he’ll rip a top shelf slapshot from the piont in the last 2 minutes of overtime . Or skate the puck around the defenders making them look bush league and fire off a shot in the net.

    People actually come to watch Kovy play because he’s exciting.

    fans don’t come pay money and drive to an arena to watch a PK specialist. Parise is a great player. Teams need him (obviously) for the dirty goals and PK. But they’re not really highlight material.

    • martysbetter - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      This is probably the most accurate description of Parise – he’s a great player and I loved having him on the Devils, but his game is all heart & hustle.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        I’m pretty excited to see how he does here in Minnesohta. Game on!

      • martysbetter - Jan 7, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        I am too, to tell you the truth!

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