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  • Steven Kee

Prudential Center – New Jersey Devils

Photos by Steven Kee, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Prudential Center 165 Mulberry St Newark, NJ 07102

Year Opened: 2007

Capacity: 17,625


The Devils are Rock Solid in New Jersey

The New Jersey Devils have been playing games at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, lovingly known as “The Rock” since 2007. It was a $375 million move from the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford and would give the three-time Stanley Cup champions a first-class building to call home.

The Devils played at the Meadowlands for nearly 30 years. This move was to help revitalize the City of Newark. The Prudential Center was to be the cornerstone of this revitalization, which included the Newark Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium (since demolished) and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The arena has become a more viable and proven candidate to be the city’s symbol for that sign of revitalization.

The arena is a sight to see and deliberately meant to draw your eyes’ focus to it with its red & black exterior and cylindrical glass corners three-story corners. Outside are statues that pay homage to hockey, and the GRAMMY Museum Experience is attached to the Prudential Center with a separate exterior entrance.

Food & Beverage 5

The concessions at The Rock are top-notch and offer quite a bit of variety, along with local staples that set it apart from other buildings in the league. There is a little bit of everything to sample and taste.

There are a few new stands: Street Taco Cantina (Sect 2, 12, 107, and 133), Piez Italian Eatery (Sect. 4, 16, and 130), Black Board Burgers (Sect 130), Sumo Dogs (Sect. 4), and Mighty Quinns barbecue (Sec. 4). The more adventurous eater may try the sumo dog, a foot-long dog topped with wasabi relish, togarashi cheese sauce, teriyaki sauce, jalapenos, and nori.

NJ Steakhouse (Sect. 101), Bayonne Diner (Sect. 1), The Chicken Coop (Sect. 6, 101, and 111), Jersey Grind (Sect. 12 and 111), and Glatt’s Kosher (Sec. 4, 19, and 123) will offer more traditional arena food from steak sandwiches, burgers, chicken tender baskets, hot dogs, french fries, and pulled beef sandwiches.

The local variety is also present and includes the Goya Ironbound (Sect. 4 and 118). The stand is influenced by the nearby Ironbound section of town and offers Portuguese cuisine. The Mojo Rotisserie Chicken Plate includes a mojito-marinated half-roasted chicken served with a side of white rice and black beans. You will also find a Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese sandwich, cheesesteaks, and zeppoles at The Taste of the Boardwalk.

There are 100 varieties of beers, wines, and ciders at the arena, including local favorites such as Kane, Carton, Forgotten Boardwalk, 902, and Jersey Girl. The national favorites from Bud and Coors are also here, along with cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.

Atmosphere 4

The Prudential Center has created a fan-first culture that begins with greeters welcoming folks to the game as they exit the escalators. Outside the arena is Championship Plaza, a huge gathering space before the game that is home to a 22-foot, 6,000-pound stainless steel hockey player statue.

On the other side of the building is the Martin Brodeur statue, which was dedicated in 2016. The future Hall of Famer and NHL leader in career wins, shutouts, and a host of other records weighs in at 1,000 pounds. It is a nice tribute to one of the game's best netminders.

The Devils incorporate 3D graphics projected on the ice that move back and forth from the fire, ice, and other vivid images. It is home to the largest center-hung video digital scoreboard providing fans with information, replays, and highlights. The 89,000-pound scoreboard is almost four stories tall and was created to provide the ultimate live experience at the arena.

The team’s official mascot N.J. Devil skates onto the ice waving a glowing pitchfork before the game. Later, he can be found throughout the building in the stands banging a drum, posing for photos with fans, and cheering on the Devils after every score.

The team also employs a live organist Pete Cannarozzi who has his area for fans to pose for pictures on the lower mezzanine section. The team’s official goal song is “Howl” by Gaslight Anthem, the easy-going arena-rocker song popular with the home crowd.

All of the seating provides vantage points of the ice and are not obstructed by the copious amounts of championship banners and retired numbers hanging on all four sides from the ceiling. The seats are plush and cozy, providing an ample amount of leg space. The atmosphere is heightened when the teams play against rivals New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.

The building is cashless at the box office, team shop, and all concession stands. There are Reverse ATMs with zero fees available at multiple kiosks. 12”x14” bags are permitted, and anything larger, except child care or medical bags, isn’t permitted. There are also 6 family restrooms located on the main and upper concourse. There is also complimentary wheelchair access.

Neighborhood 3

The Prudential Center is in a nice little pocket in Newark where fans can easily walk to great places to eat and get back and forth through mass transit. The Ironbound District is easily one of the state’s premier neighborhoods and worth a visit even after a night of hockey.

The Ironbound neighborhood is a mixed-use of residential homes, retail, coffee shops, restaurants, bakeries, clubs, and parks located half a mile from the venue on Ferry Street. The predominantly Portuguese neighborhood is home to some of the best Spanish-Portuguese establishments in the metropolitan area. The Iberian Peninsula, Iberia, Spanish Tavern, and Mompou are just a few of the restaurants where one can enjoy flavorful and classic dishes from Spain, Portugal, and Brazil (rodizio).

Redd’s Biergarten is home to the 5-Hour $5 Happy Hour six days a week from 2-7 pm. The German Beer Garden has an urban flare and provides guests with a gathering place featuring multiple bars, televisions, and long communal tables that encourage socializing. Mad For Chicken has wings, tenders, kimchi fries, fried dumplings, and kielbasa bites. A few other recommendations include Chateau of Spain, Ferry Street BBQ, and Hobby’s Deli.

Fans 3

The fanbase is strong at home games, especially with the current season that sees the club fight for first place in the division. The Devil fan is hardcore, but many will point out their low attendance figures (close to 90 percent to capacity). They play in a market with two other NHL teams within an hour’s drive from one another, but with consistent winning seasons, you might see larger crowds at The Rock.

Access 5

The Prudential Center is 2- blocks from Newark Penn Station, providing services to New York City and other points in New Jersey via Amtrak, PATH, NJ Transit, and Newark Light Rail. A PATH train ticket costs $2.75 (one-way) and stops at Greenwich Village, the 9/11 Memorial, and Brooklyn Bridge in New York City and Hoboken and Jersey City in New Jersey. The PATH will also take visitors to 33rd Street in Manhattan, several blocks from Times Square.

The parking lots range from as low as $15 to as high as $30. One option is to park at the Iberia Restaurant for free in the Ironbound district–if you grab something to eat or drink–and walk the seven blocks to the arena. Various lots near the arena offer varying prices.

Inside the building, the spacious concourses are separated into two sections offering fans easy access to seating assignments, concessions, bathrooms, and exits. Traffic inside moves freely during game action but will get crowded, like most other hockey arenas, during intermission.

Return on Investment 4

The cost of a ticket will depend on who the Devils are playing. A single-game ticket against its arch-rivals, New York Rangers, can fetch close to $100 and will more likely sell out closer to game time; tickets on the secondary market will sell for half the price. The two team’s buildings are separated by a short PATH Train ride and will sell out when the Blueshirts are in town.

The Devil’s other rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, will cost much less but are no less intense as they are hated as much as the Broadway Blues. Affordable options include visits from Toronto, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Ottawa, and Chicago that will cost under $30 in advance. The return on investment depends on your price point.

The concession prices tend to be high but are in line with other NHL venues, and parking is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost at MetLife Stadium or venues in New York City. The modern building also provides comfortable views of the rink and easy access to all sections and concourse levels.

Extras 4

The arena receives one point for the Jersey-inspired food, including Taylor ham, zeppoles, Italian hot dogs, and disco fries. These are items you won’t find at other NHL arenas and are inclusive. You can also wash it down with a local craft beer or cider.

A second point is awarded towards the organization’s history dating back to 1982 when the club arrived from Denver. There are murals of former greats, trophy cases featuring the club's three Stanley Cups, and the Brodeur statue. The retired numbers of Hall of Famers Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Brodeur also make everyone know whose building this is. The arena also displays almost every high school hockey jersey in the state.

The arena received a third point for being one of the first NHL buildings that partnered with KultureCity to provide sensory training to its staff for customers with autism. There are sensory rooms, social stores, and sensory bags for customers and parents with children on the spectrum.

The Rock gains another point for the biggest video scoreboard in the league. The newly installed board provides an innovative way to connect fans to the game on the ice and through social media.

Final Thoughts

The Prudential Center is a stunning facility, offering almost everything the hockey fan could ask for in the 21st century. The arena is accessible via mass transit, close to great restaurants, and provides a variety of services and features throughout the game. With the Devils playing winning hockey, the experience will only improve at “The Rock.”

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