Back in the early ’80s, Peter Weiss was a young college student, commuting from home to Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
“Every time I went back and forth to school, we would pass the construction site for the Meadowlands Arena,” Weiss said. “About then, I started working for the construction company that was doing a lot of the work there and decided to check out my first hockey game.”
Like so many who see their first game live, Weiss fell in love with the sport.
“After the Devils won the Cup in ’95, I went in on season tickets with five other friends. I’ve been a season-ticket holder ever since.”
Fast forward to today. Weiss owns that same construction company and he has his own season tickets in a pretty good location. He sits in the front row at the Zamboni corner. Which means he has just about the same view Cory Schneider has had for the last three seasons.
And he sat over Marty Brodeur‘s left shoulder for countless wins and two Stanley Cup runs. A special, one of a kind, 3-foot-tall Marty Brodeur bobblehead occupies a special place at his home now.
And back at Prudential Center, not only is he a fixture as constant as the ice crew, but he never sits alone.
Everyone in his section knows him. Pete’s given extra tickets to most of them at some point. They all talk about how generous he is and how big of a heart he has. Which leaves him plenty of room to love the Devils!
“First, my wife Elaine is great. She knows how important it is to get my ‘hockey fix.’ She usually comes to five or six games a year. My son, who lives in New York City, comes to a game or two.
“I enjoy inviting my friends and family to games, and never have a hard time getting anyone to take tickets. Ninety-five percent of the time you will see me in my seats with best friend Artie and his son (Nick). I’m going to have to find a replacement for Nick next year since he is off to college. I do give tickets to numerous business clients in appreciation for their business.”
Weiss’ company has gone on to do work on every major sporting venue that’s been built in the metropolitan area. From Giants Stadium to Meadowlands Racetrack, the new Yankee Stadium, MetLife Stadium, the Rutgers Stadium expansion, Red Bull Arena, and the Giants and Jets Training Facilities.
Weiss said he likes being around sports so much, it’s a natural fit for his business. But no team has a hold on his heart quite like his beloved New Jersey Devils.
“Fortunately for me, the late Fall and Winter months are slower periods in construction so my schedule is a little easier. I start work early, on the phone at 4:30 AM, and I’m in the office by 6:00 AM. I am usually finished and out the door at 3:30 PM, but sometimes have to take calls when I’m at the game.”
In this age of social media, the Devils have been more accessible to fans and season-ticket holders, like Pete, the last couple of years. He credits GM Ray Shero and thinks it’s important for both the fans and the players.
“We get more insight into the players’ activities, thoughts, etc. The players, in turn, get feedback and recognition to support them. I do not see social media being abused in hockey, unlike other sports, which is, of course, a good thing.”
And so what does he think of the team Shero is building?
“Many people ask me how the team is doing. My reply – DEVELOPING. As long as they put forth an effort, I will enjoy watching them. I understand the focus of the GM and coaches. Our young talent has potential. I think between the coaching staff and seasoned veterans, they can develop into good players and a playoff-bound team. Pavel Zacha is improving every game since returning from his injury. John Quenneville and Steven Santini are two other young players that I enjoy watching. These young players maybe the keys to the future.”
Pete’s fandom stretches beyond the ice. He even has a car and truck outfitted as “Devil Rides.”
“My 2011 Chevy pickup truck (aka 5 HOLE) has been my craziest adventure. It started when New Jersey came out with personalized sport license plates. I got them for one of my cars. When I picked up the truck, I decided I wanted to make a statement that ‘I am a fan.’ It started with the airbrushed artwork on the tailgate. Then the tires and wheels with the logo.
“I had to do something to the front so the front grill with the custom machined red logo was installed. Next came the interior with new black leather seats with red sticking, and the embroidered emblem in the headrest. It goes on and on until the final item: the paint job. Black base with a red metallic flake in the clear coat. I’d love to drive it on the ice during intermission at a game so I can show it off.
“My other Devil-related ride is the ‘Red Devil.’ It is a 2015 Lexus RC F. An amazing red paint job with black trim and carbon fiber hood, roof and spoiler. When I got my license many years ago, I loved to drive. I enjoyed working on cars and racing them. Now, with a little more free time and again a very understanding wife, I have time to spend on another hobby.
“I have been making continual improvements to the car – suspension, brakes, aerodynamics, supercharging, etc. What I have ended up with is a pretty respectable track car that I take to Watkins Glen, Pocono Raceway, etc. and experience 150 MPH-plus performance a few hours a day. An adrenaline rush that can only be matched by being present at the 2003 Stanley Cup Game 7 win or Henrique’s Game 6 OT goal against the Rangers.”