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Are Tensions Between The Devils Owner And Mayor Booker Starting To Thaw?

By Monica Miller, WBGO News
November 29, 2012

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Grand Opening of Rock Plaza Lofts in downtown Newark

A ribbon-cutting in downtown Newark made the owner of the Devils and the city's mayor put their differences aside temporarily after a public feud last spring.

The grand opening of 80 new apartments just a few feet from the Prudential Arena brought together Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek and Mayor Cory Booker under a white tent as they addressed residents, investors and developers. Booker called him one of the most despicable owners in the National Hockey League last April when a court mediator upheld a lease agreement that left the city owing the franchise 600,000 dollars after waiting in vain for millions of dollar in unpaid rent

Booker declined to say if he regretted his harsh words. But Vanderbeek took a friendly tone after publicly saying he regretted moving the team to Newark.

“I used to run around the state trying to sell Newark saying, ‘You have to get in on the ground floor.’ Now I think I’m going to start saying the mezzanine because we had a lot of work done already. We do still have a lot of room to get to the penthouse. But, we’re definitely off the ground floor.”

In light of the NHL lockout, he’s confident the Devils will be back this season.

“We look forward to getting on the ice again at some point and getting back to the Stanley Cup finals were we ended last year.”

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