Devils oppose assemblyman's bid to replace symbol

5/29/2005 - New Jersey Devils

TRENTON, N.J. -- What chance do the New Jersey Devils give a
proposal that would give the NHL team a less demonic name?

Think hell freezing over.

"I can assure you the Devils name will never change, and I
think there are more important things to be thinking about than
something that will never happen," chief executive officer Lou
Lamoriello said. "It's who we are and what we want to be."

State Assemblyman Craig Stanley is taking issue with a satanic
symbol representing the team, which has won three Stanley Cup

"This is an age where symbolism is very important," said
Stanley, a Baptist deacon whose resolution to rename the team is to
be introduced in the Assembly next month. A new name would be
chosen in a statewide competition.

Stanley's legislative district includes parts of Newark, where
the Devils are scheduled to move into a $310 million, 18,000-seat
downtown arena in September 2007, from the Meadowlands sports
complex in East Rutherford.

"I've always cringed when people say they're going to see the
Devils," Stanley said. "The merchandise, the paraphernalia is
based on the actual demonic devil. Personally, it causes a little
bit of an issue with me."

The team's mascot is a red, cartoonish figure with horns and a

However, the team's name, chosen in a 1982 fan contest, comes
from the mythical Jersey Devil, not the Christian symbol of the
antichrist, according to Weird N.J., a travel guide to the state's
most offbeat attractions.

The mythical Jersey Devil -- with batlike wings, a forked tail
and oversized claws -- was said to terrorize Pine Barrens dwellers
in the 18th century after being born the 13th child to poor south
Jerseyans and morphing into a dinosaurlike beast.

Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey agrees that the name should stay as
is. Team owner Jeff Vanderbeek gave the proposal a
less-than-enthusiastic reception.

"He's hellbent on keeping the Devils name," Stanley said.