New York Rangers

New Jersey Devils

NHL Stadium Series A Huge Success for Hockey and New Jersey

The 2024 NHL Stadium Series has come and gone, and what a weekend it was.  More than 150,000 fans packed MetLife Stadium over two evenings to see two crucial regular season hockey games in the middle of February, and were treated to the best the sport has to offer. On Saturday the Devils outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3, while the Rangers stormed back from a 4-1 deficit to shock the Islanders 6-5 seconds into overtime on Sunday night. It's one thing to see either 18,000 revelers packed inside Madison Square Garden, the UBS Arena, or the Prudential Center, it is quiet another when 79,000 people are going nuts inside a football stadium, when Mika Zibanejad nails the game tying goal from the corner post. On Friday players from the Rangers and Devils spoke to the media about how playing in the outdoor games brought back memories of their childhood playing on ponds and lakes while growing up. On Sunday, those emotions bubbled up for the Blue Shirts. "I to hold back tears because it was so much a spectacle," Artemi Panarin said through his interpreter after the Rangers 6-5 win, the emotion clear in his face. Let's be honest this weekend was a game changer. For years people always looked at hockey as the fourth most popular sport in the USA trailing football and baseball by a country mile, and basketball as well. But, the NHL proved, and the state of New Jersey proved that there is an desire for big time hockey on the grandest stage possible. And Sunday was an off-Broadway smash. EXTRAVAGANZA The NHL, the players, and the crews working MetLife Stadium went all out to make this feel as big as a Stanley Cup playoff Series. We had the Devils arriving in the pregame dressed in sweats and t-shirts like Tony Soprano -- the famed mob boss of The Sopranos played so well by the late James Gandolfini. We had the Flyers arriving dressed as Rocky Balboa. We had Max Weinstein of the E-Street band, the Jonas Brothers, and even members of the New York Giants and Jets all in attendance to highlight the festivities. It was a wall to wall extravaganza. NHL STREET There was even something for the kids as well. NHL Street, which is run by the National Hockey League and RCX was on hand to showcase "street hockey" for kids with special platforms set up in what is typically the north end zone of MetLife Stadium. Spearheaded by NHL Director of Impact, Growth and Fan Development, Andrew Ference, a former NHL player with the Edmonton Oilers and Stanley Cup Champion with Boston Bruins, NHL Street's focus is on building interest in the sport of hockey with youths across the country. They have 42 leagues set up in the United States, and look to expand their reach to other parts of the nation. New York and New Jersey is one of those areas. This weekend's NHL Stadium Classic served as a perfect backdrop as kids took part in games during the Intermissions of both NHL contests. In sum there was something for everyone on this cold weekend in February. [select-gallery gallery_id="116129" syndication_name="nhl-stadium-series-rangers-vs-islanders" description="yes"]

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