I can safely say I've never seen anything like it. I was sitting from my perch in the press box as Damien Brunner scored the first New Jersey Devil goal of the season during the club's home opener against the New York Islanders. The celebration started, and then all of a sudden, you heard the strangest noise.
The Devil fans in Newark's Prudential Center were booing. I thought to myself, "okay, it's Brunner. Maybe they're chanting 'Bruuuuuuuu' since hockey fans are prone to that kind of thing." Seconds passed and you kept hearing the sound. As the play reset and the puck dropped, however, another chant started. "Change it back! Change it back! Change it back!" along with "Hey, you suck!"
New Jersey's fans were booing the removal of the goal song, making it sound like they were booing a goal.
Like most lazy franchises, the Devils have spent a majority of their history celebrating goals scored with Gary Glitter's "Rock N' Roll, Part 2," an insipid, horrible song made all the more intolerable by Devils' fans chanting "you suck!" after every refrain of "hey!" The team briefly attempted to rectify this by using The Bouncing Souls' "Ole" after goals in 2007. A New Jersey reworking of a classic Montreal chant? What could be more Devils? Apparently, many things, as a brief stint with "Zombie Nation" replaced it, followed by the return of "Rock N' Roll, Part 2."
You see, the thing is that all goal songs are terrible in nature. Especially "Rock N' Roll, Part 2." Almost every franchise in sports uses it in someway or another. Just because you chant "You suck!" after the guy says "hey" doesn't make you special. That's even lazier. "Rock N' Roll, Part 2" is a pimple on the face of sports fan culture across this great nation.
With new ownership intact, New Jersey tried to change it one more time. On opening night, Bon Jovi's "This Is Our House" played.
Again, also not a good song. It's well known as a tune often heard at New England Patriots games, probably because Bill Belichick and Jon Bon Jovi are weird buddies. But you can see it as another attempt to bring local flavor to what is now promoted as "Jersey's team."
You can hear towards the end, the fans are booing. The "change it back!" and "hey, you suck!" chants weren't far behind. Greg Wyshynski (who is from "Central Jersey' even though that's not a real thing, Greg) accurately depicted the reaction the night after.
Well, the dissenters have emerged victorious, as this e-mail distributed to the team's mailing list promotes.
The New Jersey Devils have the greatest most passionate fans and we thank you for being such a key part to our success, both on and off the ice. As an integral part of our Devils Family, your opinion is important to us and we want to hear from you!
The goal song is changing and this is YOUR chance to submit the song you’d like to have played during the one moment we all relish to experience together. Starting NOW, the Devils organization will be taking submissions as to what you’d like the new goal song to be.
The contest will run through the next few home games. The most-submitted song by Oct. 18 will be played against the Rangers on Oct. 19 (I dare some creative jerks to submit that awful Ranger goal song). The same will happen before Oct. 24's game against the Canucks and Oct. 29 against the Lightning. There will be a voting period Oct. 30-Nov. 1, and the winner will be revealed on Nov. 2.
And then we will never speak of this again. Unless people are still mad that it isn't "Rock N' Roll, Part 2." Which, seriously, enough of that. My personal recommendation: "Na Na Na" by My Chemical Romance. It's from New Jersey, and it's a dumb thing you can sing along to for 30 seconds before going back to the game.