As you walk in or out of the south side tower at the Prudential Center behind the escalators there’s a wall full of college hockey jerseys hanging on display from all around the state of the New Jersey. It was a tribute done by the New Jersey Devils towards hockey in Jersey.
I no longer have my away jersey from playing two years of Division II club hockey at Monmouth University, and that’s because it’s hanging up on that south side wall.
I was lucky enough to have been asked this past summer, by my coach of two years from Monmouth, to have my game-worn jersey placed up there with all the other schools.
Growing up in New Jersey, playing hockey, and both watching plus attending countless Devils games – seeing my jersey hung up in your favorite team’s arena is something I’m very appreciative of.
Now, do you I think I’m “so cool and special” because my jersey is hung up there? Far from; it’s not like I ended up playing at the University of Michigan or Maine, but it is a friendly reminder…
Being that I ended up playing only two seasons basically for the Hawks, due to injuries and did not end my hockey days that way I would have liked, it’s still a sentimental reminder to me that brings back plenty of memories. And, after being removed from the ice for quite sometime now it refreshes my head in a funny way that “Hey, remember you used to play…and worked hard to get where you ended up.”
Besides being a tribute to the school, the team, and myself it’s also a nice tribute to my family and friends (includes past coaches & teammates) who supported me over the years during my career. Those who inspired, believed, and pushed me to succeed.
It’s a nice feeling walking around “The Rock” and pointing out to your parents and relatives that, “That’s my jersey up there,” in which I bled, sweat, yelled, cheered, and continued to learn life lessons in. Or hearing, “Hey, yeah – that’s Mickey’s number 17…”
I also find it as a nice compliment towards my relationship with my former coach who made that happen, which I am very appreciative of, especially since I had stopped playing and “hung up the skates” a little sooner than expected -He could have easily picked out another jersey.
But, hey what can I say…it’s the little things like seeing one of your old jerseys hung up in an NHL arena that I admire, and is a friendly reminder of my hockey grassroots.
I guess it was meant to be.