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Toronto Maple Leaf and Middletown, NJ native, James van Riemsdyk Visits Prudential Center Display

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Getty Images


The Prudential Center’s Celebrating New Jersey Hockey display has had many visitors since it was renovated at the start of the season.

On Wednesday morning a special visitor stopped by the exhibit. Toronto Maple Leaf forward and Middletown, NJ native, James van Riemsdyk, became the first of the many Garden State natives playing in the National Hockey League to visit the display.

Before catching the team bus back to the hotel following the Maple Leafs practice, van Riemsdyk, checked out the display that holds his old Brick Hockey Club sweater. He laughed at its position next to St. Louis Blues defenseman, Kevin Shattenkirk’s jersey, mentioning to how frequently the two have played against each other over the years. He then took a picture of the jerseys to send to his friend and rival.

On the New Jersey Devils website, Van Riemsdyk said, “I’m proud of where I came from, where I grew up playing hockey, and to see some of my buddies up here too is pretty special.” Van Riemsdyk was drafted second overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, by the Philadelphia Flyers and then watched Shattenkirk get drafted 12 spots later by the Colorado Avalanche.

Since the 2007 draft, a handful of rising NHL stars, have broken into the league, after playing youth hockey in New Jersey, including Anaheim Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri and 2014 Hobey Baker award winner and Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau. Van Riemsdyk added, “It just goes to show how much the game has taken off here, it seems like every year there’s a guy breaking into the league from New Jersey. Hopefully we can continue that trend.”

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