2011-10-13 / Front Page

South River honors Devils with naming of roadway

Devils legend Daneyko, fans visit borough for ceremony
BY KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

SOUTH RIVER — For all the support the New Jersey Devils organization has given to the borough’s hockey recreation program, local officials wanted to say “Thank you.”

They did so during an Oct. 6 ceremony, dedicating the new entrance road to Edward A. Grekoski Park on Whitehead Avenue as N.J. Devils Way. The NHL team’s mascot and Ken Daneyko, who played 20 years for the Devils before retiring in 2003, were on hand for the ceremony.

“The purpose for all of this is to thank the New Jersey Devils in helping foster the street hockey program,” Mayor Raymond T. Eppinger said.

He also said the event recognized the overall success of the South River Street Devils program, “because the recreation advisory board says right now the program is as full as it can be even without the lights [planned for the street hockey court].”

The mayor thanked Daneyko and the Devils’ mascot for attending the ceremony and helping the town celebrate.

“Your help has done so much for the program,” he said. “There are 160 children — boys and girls — playing this sport, and a large part of it is because of your help. This is our way, the people in South River, of thanking you. New Jersey Devils, we thank you.”

The Devils’ organization has donated hockey sticks, goalie equipment, goals, and hockey balls and pucks to the program. South River has been participating in the Street Devils program since its inception in 1997. The New Jersey Devils now support more than 35 Street Devils centers across the state.

Councilman James Hutchison, liaison to the recreation department, said it was an extreme privilege to have the backing of the New Jersey Devils for the local program.

Daneyko said the Devils organization is proud to be partners and to support the hockey program in South River.

He said it is great to see so many kids active in the hockey program, which has teams for children ages 5 to 16.

“We hope to see some of you at The Rock [the Prudential Center in Newark] to cheer on the Devils for a terrific season,” he said to a round of applause. “Let’s hope they play like they did the second half of the season. There is a mixture of great young kids … Adam Larrson; he’s 18 years old and looks to bring a lot of excitement to the New Jersey Devils. I remember when I was 18-years-old, and just signed with the New Jersey Devils. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to play.”

Daneyko wished the South River kids a great season. Most importantly, he told them to have a lot of fun.

Jeff Vanderbeek, chairman and managing partner of the New Jersey Devils, said his team is happy to support the residents of South River and their commitment to youth hockey programs.

“Our entire organization is dedicated to growing youth hockey across the state,” he said. “It’s an honor that the borough of South River is commemorating our relationship with this street naming.”

New Jersey Devils fans in the crowd included Jayson Storicks and Morgan Gates, decked out in vintage Devils jerseys and colors.

“We just moved to Morris County from San Diego, Calif.,” said Storicks, who grew up in New Jersey and has been a lifelong Devils fan. He said he and Gates have tickets to the first three home games. The home opener was Oct. 8.

Storicks said he reads Devils blogs and, towards the end of one he found information about the ceremony in South River.

“They actually spelled the name of the park wrong, but I finally figured it out,” he said with a laugh. “So not only did we come from California, we also drove an extra hour and a half to come here.”

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