JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Martin Brodeur vividly recalls being an impromptu go-fer for his late father, Denis, a renowned sports photographer in Canada.
“We would go always go to spring training games (with the Montreal Expos) and turn our hotel room into a dark room, putting garbage bags all over the floor,” said Brodeur, whose No. 30 will be retired by the New Jersey Devils in a ceremony Tuesday night.
“My brothers and sisters did that for our entire youth with our dad,” Brodeur said. “Looking back, it takes a certain skill to be a sports photographer.”
Youngsters in Jersey City will now learn some of those skills as part of a program announced Monday to honour the legendary goaltender’s father.
The Denis Brodeur Sports Photography Program will give Henry Snyder High School students in Jersey City a sports photography class. The program is a partnership between the NHL, the New Jersey Devils, Getty Images, Panasonic and school and city officials. The program begins March 1.
Brodeur says his father, who died in 2013 at 82 years old, would be proud after making a great living through sports photography.
“I’ve lived my life through pictures,” said Brodeur, who has been involved in a series of local activities surrounding the hoisting of his jersey Tuesday at the Prudential Center, including a clinic involving nearly 100 children and some of his former teammates.
“If you went back to my old house (in Montreal), you’d see all the different things my dad did on the walls. And you could see he was really good at it,” he said.
The idea for the program came during a meeting between Devils president Hugh Weber and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop 18 months ago. The Devils and Jersey City officials also announced an expansion of the city’s Jersey City Capitals youth hockey program.
“It’s important for our kids to experience sports at another level,” said Snyder principal Yvonne Waller. “It’s a chance for them to see sports in an entirely new light and give them a different understanding in sports.”
Panasonic will donate at least five cameras with still photography and video capabilities. The students will learn from several photographers, including Denis Brodeur’s friend Bruce Bennett. The students will go to different sporting events, including Devils games, to shoot pictures that will eventually grace the walls of the Prudential Center.
“It’s huge to be able to inspire the young people of Jersey City,” Fulop said. “This program will shape these young people’s lives for a long time. It’s a great opportunity outside of school.”
When Brodeur’s No. 30 is raised Tuesday night, the goaltender will join Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens and Scott Neidermayer as the only players to have their numbers retired by the club.
“The Devils have done a great job with this jersey celebration,” Brodeur said ahead of a statue unveiling Monday night. “In fact, they’re taking it to another level.”
Brodeur played 20 seasons with the Devils, leading the team to the Stanley Cup championship three times (1995, 2000 and 2003). Brodeur is the NHL’s all-time leader with 691 wins, 1,266 games played and 125 shutouts. He is currently the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues.