September 16, 2008
Before Jeff Vanderbeek (pictured here with a Thanksgiving Day parade float) became owner of the New Jersey Devils, he was the executive vice president of Lehman Brothers, the iconic Wall Street firm that has filed for bankruptcy protection.
I had several people asking me if the failure of one would have a financial effect on the other. Tom Gulitti of Fire and Ice was peppered by worried Devils fans too, and asked Vanderbeek about it. The Devils' owner didn't get into specifics, but assured fans that the Lehman Brothers' collapse "does not and will not affect the team in any way."
Whew, dodged a bullet there. It'd be a real shame if the plummeting fortunes on Wall Street forced the Devils to trim their payroll and, like, buy out Dainius Zubrus. Yep ... a reeeeeal shame.
Meanwhile, Vanderbeek reports that the perpetually attendance-starved Devils are experiencing season ticket sales that "are at or slightly above our budget." Most encouraging is that the Prudential Center in Newark is attracting new season-ticket holders who are "coming from different areas because of the mass transportation aspect of the new building."
And it's a great building, no question about that. Wonder how Vanderbeek feels about taxpayer money having been used to build it, but having taxpayer funding denied when it comes to going the Bear Stearns route with Lehman Brothers?
Maybe I'll ask him sometime, assuming they'd ever let an upper-decker like me into the privileged bars at the Rock. Eh, maybe he'll give me five minutes at the Beers of Newark stand.