Dear Prospective NHL Free Agent: congratulations on your workplace freedom! Whether it’s because your previous contract expired or you were bought out by your previous franchise, you have the option of going wherever you want. Have you considered the New Jersey Devils? The state of New Jersey has been unfairly characterized as one full of mafiosos and beach dwelling partiers. As someone who was born and still has family living in New Jersey, there is much, much more for the state to offer. So, as a public service, let me offer an NHL Free Agent Primer to New Jersey.
New Jersey Has Your Carb Fix
The first thing to learn in this free agent primer is if you love carbs, you will love New Jersey. While New York City is the king of bagels and pizza, New Jersey has its share of excellent bagel and pizza shops. Need a quick carb fix? Turn the corner and you’ll find one of them. I’m originally from New Jersey and when I visit, I try to bring back a dozen bagels for family. As for pizza, it’s the same thing: turn the corner and there’s a pizza shop. When I lived in New Jersey, my parents used to get us a Brother Bruno’s Pizza in Wayne once a week. And don’t forget the highway diners that are off of just about every exit and route in New Jersey. In fact, there are countless on Route 23 going up and down all 53 miles of the highway.
Potholes, Endless Construction, and Jughandles
Speaking of roads, the second thing to learn in this free agent primer is the potholes, jughandles, and endless construction. Winters in the Northeast part of the United States are rough and seemingly never-ending. These rough winters wreak havoc on roads and as a result, giant potholes emerge. What do the potholes create? Endless construction. You won’t just see it for pothole repair, either. Major highways in the state seem to always be eternally under construction. And good luck trying to turn left on a turnpike; New Jersey’s highway system developed “jughandles.” These are slip roads off of highways and turnpikes where you exit on a ramp to get to where you would ordinarily turn left.
The third thing to learn in this free agent primer to New Jersey how to answer the question, “Which exit?” Because New Jersey has so many interstates (I-95 and the Parkway being most notable), the stereotype to ask which exit one lives or works off of. Knowing the answer to this question is a critical and key mart of your state citizenship. You’ve signed with the Devils for a couple of seasons, so you better have an answer. And since you’re going to be working at the Prudential Center in Newark, the correct answer is Exit 14.
Life’s a Beach
The fourth thing to learn in your free agent primer to New Jersey is the beach life. Every Summer, New Jerseyans (Jersey-ites?) flock to the Jersey Shore. In fact, you might have seen a series about it on MTV called Jersey Shore. Contrary to the show, which features non-stop partying, big hair, and possible Ponzi schemes, there is much more than that. You can visit the boardwalk and play carnival games. Heck, you can visit the famed Asbury Park as featured in Bruce Springsteen’s ode to the same beach where he spent his Summers.
The last thing to learn in this free agent primer is about two secret wars emerging on social media. One of New Jersey’s staple foods is Taylor ham. Or is it Pork Roll? Debates over what to call this staple food of New Jersey have the state divided. Regardless of what you call it, it’s damn good on a hard roll with an over easy egg. The other controversy is: does Central Jersey exist? In terms of sports, no. The state is divided by New York and Philadelphia sports allegiances. It’s also considered the part of New Jersey you drive through to get to from New York City to Philadelphia. In reality, yes; it includes Elizabeth, Princeton, Edison, and Trenton (the state capital). In fact, New Jersey Devils playoff legend Jim Dowd is from Brick, New Jersey. Need a reason why he’s a playoff legend? See the video below.
I hope this NHL free agent primer has helped in making your decision on whether or not New Jersey will be your hockey home next season. Mind the taxes, though.
New Jerseyans: did I miss anything? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter: @WhoIsRyanMcC. Be sure to check out my streaming show A-Round for the Weekend (which airs most Fridays at 6:30pm EST) and my podcast No Credentials Required (new episodes drop Wednesdays).