Devils Down Under: A True Story of Two Australians Who Became Devils Fans

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA HOSTS NHL GLOBAL SERIES

The NHL GLOBAL SERIES is a great addition to the league’s yearly events, bringing the teams to fans who can’t get to them due to being overseas. It was rumored (a rumor started by Kevin Weekes on Twitter at the time) that the New Jersey Devils would be traveling to Australia for this event. Weekes tweeted a hint at where the Global Series would be by posting a photo of the Sydney Opera House, and the other photo, along with it, was a picture of the state of New Jersey. We don’t know why this did not end up happening. My initial thought was that after the surprising and historical season the Devils had, the organization backed out because now they have a contender on their hands. It was never discussed again. So, how do I take a game featuring the Arizona Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings and spin it into a tale of New Jersey Devils fans? Take a look at a few Australian Devils fans who ended up sitting next to each other in Melbourne. What are the chances? Here are their stories.

DEVIL DOWN UNDER

The first Aussie Devils fan we will learn about today goes by the handle @_devildownunder on X/Twitter. He and I follow each other on Twitter; he is also subscribed to Devils Joint (a YouTube channel dedicated to overseas and out-of-market Devils fans) on YouTube. The first piece of information that brought me to write about this was when he told me that he sat next to another Devil’s fan. I thought that was amazing. The chances of that happening are slim to none. With a lightbulb above my head, I asked these two fans to give me their origin story. When I say origin story, I mean the story of how they became a New Jersey Devils fan from Australia (and Tasmania). So @_devildownunder gave me his, and here we are. One thing that stood out was when DDU (@_devildownunder for short) said, “With the involvement of social media over the last seven or eight years, I have been able to connect with many Devils fans like yourself and others, not from New Jersey or the USA but from all over the world. I’m very grateful for their friendships as it makes me feel part of the Devil’s great fanbase, that [sic] is very special to me”. Hearing that made my day. The Devils community spreads far and wide, like DDU; I also like to strike up conversations with fans from overseas. This is why I started the YouTube channel for overseas fans. So here is the story about DDU and exactly how he became a die-hard New Jersey Devils fan from down under.

Devil Down Under became a New Jersey Devils fan approximately around the time of their second Stanley Cup Championship in 2000. He was able to watch watch NHL games on Australian cable TV. At the time, he was, in his words, addicted to playing NHL 99 on Sony PlayStation with his friends. Shortly after watching many games on Aussie cable, he chose the Devils because he likes their logo (which has repeatedly been voted one of the top sports logos regarding the main 4 American sports). DDU said, “Not to mention they were the Stanley Cup Champions at the time, and I’ve been on the bandwagon ever since.” From what I understand, Australia would play NHL games through certain cable providers that had the original ESPN and ESPN 2. DDU came back after giving me his story to remind me that the 2003 Stanley Cup win cemented his love for the New Jersey Devils forever.

I remember hearing the Star Wars theme song playing in the arena during the cup-lifting celebrations and as a massive Star Wars fan, I was and still am so in love with that moment even though it was only through my television” – DDU

@_DevilDownUnder on X

It was shortly after this moment that DDU did not have access to cable television anymore until a decade later when NHL Game Center was introduced in Australia through the NHL application on his smartphone. Luckily, it is a lot easier for a fan of any NHL team who lives overseas to watch and follow whatever organization they choose to be a fan of. However, the time might be a bit off their schedule. When DDU attended the Global Series just a few days ago, he sat next to another Devils fan from down under. The coincidence is almost unbelievable, but after speaking with her, it’s all true. I asked her about her origin story, and she was happy to give me some information about her background. So, with that, let’s get to our second Devils fan, Tasmanian Tassie.

THE TASMANIAN DEVIL: TASSIE

Going by the handle @Tassie_Devil87 on X/Twitter, Tassie made her way from Tasmania to Melbourne for the NHL Global Series, unaware she would have a seat right next to another New Jersey Devils fan, Devil Down Under. The chances of that happening are slim, but the lotto hit that night! Tassie, unlike DDU, became a fan a bit more recently. She met her partner about seven years ago, during dark times in New Jersey. It was that partner that introduced Tassie to playing inline hockey. I’ve learned that inline hockey is very popular down under after talking with many Australian/Tasmanian hockey fans. While playing inline hockey, Tassie had the urge to watch the professionals. The timing of her Devils fandom is more recent, making it a little easier to access your favorite team’s game with the advancement in smart technology over the last two decades. Here is where the stories of DDU and Tassie come together. Tassie was given a list of all the teams in the NHL by her partner. He told her to pick a team, and this is how she was going to choose the team she is going to support. It’s untraditional, to say the least. It’s almost as random as my own experience becoming a Devils fan from out-of-market myself. So, like DDU, Tassie fell in love with the Devil’s name and logo. There’s that logo making things happen again. The Devil’s logo is known as being a perfect sports logo because it’s so clean, and every part of the logo matches the location and the name of the team. The New Jersey Devil’s logo has the N and the J intertwined as well as the horns and tail on the top and bottom of the J. Going along with all of that, Tassie wasn’t aware of the actual lore of the Jersey Devil where the name originated. Like DDU and myself, the Devil’s name, colors, and logo attracted Tassie, and now she is over 7 years into her Devils fandom. She became a fan in a hard time, I respect her for sticking with us Devils fans. This is the sign of a true fan. Today, Tassie is finally able to reap the rewards of being a New Jersey Devils fan. For some, like DDU and I, we were around when the Devils were at the top of the league year after year. I, myself, went to my first Devils game the same year they made the playoffs for the first time. Local fans have a lot of respect for fans like Tassie. It shows heart and dedication to go through the hard times first. I can say for me that I did not have to go through that, and DDU became a fan when the Devils were at the top of the league as well.

“So without knowing anything about the sport or team I made my choice! The Devils jumped out as I loved their logo, and the name suits my personality

@Tassie_Devil87 on X/Twitter

THE FUTURE OF NHL FANS WORLDWIDE

The New Jersey Devils and the rest of the NHL are making a presence in Australia. Bringing the Global Series to Melbourne was a great idea for the league. The NHL Global Series has been a success in all areas of the world it has been brought to. The New Jersey Devils participated in the NHL Global Series, opening their season against the Edmonton Oilers on October 6th, 2018. That same year, two games were played in Finland on November 1st and 2nd of 2018. The NHL has always had a large international presence. There have been many years in the 1980s and 90s, especially when NHL teams played against Soviet/Russian teams in what they called the Super Series. Those games were played in the United States and Canada, but it was a start. A multitude of NHL games have been played in different countries and even in Puerto Rico. This time, the NHL went down under, and I think it is going to take a lot for the NHL to come back up after seeing the excitement of the Australian and Tasmanian fans. Looking back at it, I would have been happy to see the Devils play a pre-season game in Australia. I hope next time they do a Global Series, they spend the money they make off of us fans and use it to send each set of teams to open their seasons in different Countries. Some don’t like that idea, and some that I’ve run it by think it would be a great idea, providing it be a once-a-year or bi-annual event. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my true story of two die-hard New Jersey Devils fans and their experience becoming and being fans that do not have access to a game unless it’s planned six months in advance. The NHL made a smart move going to Melbourne; maybe next time, they will go to Sydney and Perth so they can cover both sides of the Country/Continent. For fun and unique Devils content, check out @DevilsJointYT on X/Twitter and Devils Joint on YouTube.

Joseph Stassi

Joseph Stassi is a Writer/Musician from New York. He covers the New Jersey Devils on X @DevilsJointX and YouTube with the same handle.

12 thoughts on “Devils Down Under: A True Story of Two Australians Who Became Devils Fans

  1. Great Article. I was one of the few fans that stayed up and watched the Global Series. I personally liked the game played in Australia. Wished it was the Devils but I enjoyed it. Keep up the great ideas for subjects. 👍 Looking forward to the next article.

    1. Thanks Brian!! As I said in the article, The Devils were supposed to be in this one, Kevin Weekes leaked it, but things changed

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