Photo Credit - The Canadian Press - Paul Chiasson
Martin Brodeur – Athlete – Ice Hockey
Born in Montréal, where hockey and history go hand in hand, Martin Brodeur grew up playing the game on neighbourhood streets, emulating heroes drawn from local legends and family lore. Martin’s father Denis won a Bronze medal tending goal for Team Canada at the 1956 Olympic Winter Games before becoming the official team photographer of the Montréal Canadiens. Carrying camera equipment at games and practices, Martin saw firsthand the extraordinary dedication and work ethic required to play the sport professionally. Watching his hometown hockey idols up close and behind the scenes, the young fan was inspired to dream big.
Taking to the ice, Martin played forward until his coach asked for a volunteer backup goaltender to play in a tournament when he was seven years old. Determined to learn the position inside and out, as a teenager he attended training camps and developed a hybrid style of goaltending, combining the standard butterfly position with a more dynamic upright stance, optimizing his outstanding puck handling abilities. In 1989, Martin made the Quebec Major Junior League, playing with the Saint-Hyacinthe Laser and earning a spot on the all-rookie team. In 1990 he was drafted by the New Jersey Devils and began his record-setting career in the National Hockey League.
With his unorthodox style of play, Martin quickly distinguished himself in the NHL, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in the 1993-94 season. Over 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, he reached the postseason 17 times, winning five Eastern Conference titles and three Stanley Cup championships in 1995, 2000, and 2003. By the time he retired in 2015, Martin led NHL goaltenders with 691 wins and 125 shutouts over 1,266 games. He also led in goals scored, assists and points earned, and received the Vezina Trophy as the League’s best goaltender four times. He also earned the William M. Jennings trophy for fewest goals allowed five times-the most in NHL history, tied with his childhood hero Patrick Roy. A ten-time NHL All-Star, Martin was one of only two goaltenders in the League ever to score in both regular season and playoff games. His multidimensional style transformed goaltending’s impact on the game, compelling the NHL to create “the Brodeur rule” limiting how far goalies could cover the puck outside the crease.
Always grounded and relatable, when it was Martin’s turn to bring home the Stanley Cup in 1995, the legendary trophy returned to the same neighbourhood where he grew up playing street hockey with friends, fulfilling a childhood dream. In 2002 and 2010, Martin helped Team Canada capture Gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games, drawing millions of Canadians together coast to coast. Playing a pivotal role in these contests furthered his deep appreciation for the vast community of hockey players and fans that make the sport a unique part of life in Canada. Coming full circle, Martin Brodeur has secured a legacy as one of hockey’s most iconic athletes, inspiring the next generation to pursue their goals with hard work, originality and heart.