Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/30/06 at 10:06 PM ET
While the words "If you build it, they will come" once inspired an Iowa corn farmer to create his own field of dreams, these — "If you build it, who will come?" — should have inspired Newark's mayor, Sharpe James, and Devils officials to toss their blueprints under the wheels of the first passing Zamboni. Despite winning 3 Stanley Cups in the last 11 seasons, the Devils have the misfortune of possessing one of the most disloyal fan bases in the history of sports. Are these same fair-weather Meadowlanders who regularly left thousands of seats empty during the best of Stanley Cup times now going to drive — at night — to a more-menacing area to storm the gates of their new palace? At the other end of the move, how many new fans will the Devils find in Newark, a predominantly black and Hispanic city that has no cultural or ethnic ties to a game in which just about everything is white except for the puck and a few puffy eyes? Neither Jeffrey Vanderbeek, the Devils' chairman, nor Mayor James responded to repeated calls to discuss these issues.more
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