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Denis Brodeur, legendary photographer and Martin’s father, dies at 82

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He photographed the NHL and Montreal Expos during his career, RIP:

Denis Brodeur, the father of Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, passed away today at age 82.

Martin Brodeur was to start the Devils’ preseason finale against the Philadelphia Flyers, but left this afternoon to fly up to Montreal to see his father.

“The entire New Jersey Devils organization is tremendously saddened by the loss of Denis Brodeur, Sr.” Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement released by the team. “The Brodeurs have been part of the Devils’ family for over 23 years. Denis proudly dedicated his life, on and off the ice, to the game of hockey and for that he will be fondly remembered. Our thoughts and prayers, right now, are with Martin and his family. We ask that you respect the privacy of Martin and his family at this time. ”

Denis Brodeur, who would have turned 83 on Oct. 12, underwent surgery on Feb. 17, 2012 to remove a brain tumor and, though he recovered enough to come to Prudential Center to see Martin and the Devils play in Game 2 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, he had to undergo a second surgery later that year for another brain tumor and was unable to attend the Devils’ Jan. 27 game in Montreal last season because of fatigue.

Martin Brodeur acknowledged to me before that Jan. 27 game that Game 2 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals might turn out to be the last time his father saw him play in person.

“That was unbelievable for me to be able to share some of those things with him,” Brodeur said at the time. “Our parents are not eternal and, especially with what happened [with the tumors], who knows if that was the last game? He’s doing real well. I don’t expect anything bad to happen, but you never know. I’m not going to play forever, either. So you have to share these moments.”

Martin Brodeur indicated two weeks ago that his father was not in good health, but did not give any details.

Denis Brodeur won an Olympic bronze medal as the goaltender for Canada in Cortina D’Ampezzo in 1956. One of his greatest prides was seeing Martin represent Canada four times at the Olympics and win gold medals in 2002 in Salt Lake City and 2010 in Vancouver.

“Martin sometimes kids me that my medal is only a bronze,” Denis Brodeur said in 2006. “But I remind him that in Nagano when the (Canadian) team played for bronze (in 1998), the players didn’t think it was important. But when they saw Finland guys jump up and down after they won the bronze, they realized that any of the medals at the Olympics is an achievement. That was a good lesson.”

After his playing career, Denis went on to become an accomplished sports photographer, working for the Montreal Canadiens and the Montreal Expos. In 2006, the NHL purchased much of Denis Brodeur’s photography portfolio—more than 110,000 photos covering 40 years of hockey. Denis kept all his photos of his son, though.

Denis was there to see many of Martin Brodeur’s accomplishments—three Stanley Cups, four Vezina trophies, an NHL record 669 career wins, an NHL record 121 shutouts. When Martin Brodeur tied Patrick Roy’s NHL record with his 551st win on March, 14, 2009—a 4-1 win over the Canadiens—Denis was at Bell Centre with his camera to record the historic moment. He also was at Prudential Center three nights later to see Martin break the record with a 3-2 victory over Chicago.

Denis Brodeur is survived by his wife, Mireille, three sons Denis Jr, Claude (a former pitcher in the Expos’ system) and Martin and two daughters, Line and Sylvie.

He lived long enough to see his grandson, Martin Brodeur’s son Anthony, selected in the seventh round by the Devils in last June’s draft and get to attend training camp with Martin earlier this month.

Anthony Brodeur, a goaltender like his father and grandfather, is in his first season with the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL. On Twitter this afternoon, he posted, “Sad, sad day. Miss you so much already Grandpapa. Rest In Peace. Je T’aime.”


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