Denis Brodeur, the father of star goalie Martin Brodeur who enjoyed a lengthy career as one of Canada’s most successful sports photographers, died Thursday, the New Jersey Devils said. He was 82.
He shot pictures of the Montreal Canadiens for several decades, first as a newspaper man and then as the team’s official photographer. Brodeur was one of two photographers to capture the iconic image of Paul Henderson celebrating the winning goal of the 1972 Canada-Soviet summit series.
In 2006, he sold his archive of 110,000 photos to the NHL for $350,000.
"In a cut-throat business, he was a true class act," said Ryan Remiorz, a photographer for The Canadian Press who first met Brodeur while shooting Montreal Expos games in 1979. "He was already a legend before I showed up."
Denis Brodeur’s career extended beyond hockey. He was also the official photographer for the Expos and shot numerous local sporting events and pro wrestling.
"Denis Brodeur’s images brought the action, the drama and the passion of the game sharply into focus for generations of fans around the world," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Some of the greatest teams and greatest players in hockey history — including his son, Martin — are preserved forever by his grand body of work. Memorialized, as well, is Denis’ deep love of what he did and the sport he covered. The National Hockey League sends heartfelt condolences to Denis’ family and friends."
Brodeur would bring his sons to practices and to Florida every year for spring training. The family made the lengthy drive to Florida because Mireille Brodeur, Martin’s mother, didn’t like flying.
In Florida, the family would rent a motel room. Photographers recalled visits to that motel, where Denis would set up a makeshift darkroom, and Mireille cooked for the family on a hot plate.
Like his son, Denis Brodeur was a goalie who won an Olympic medal. He backstopped the Canadian team that took the bronze at the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Games.
Martin Brodeur had the words "Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956," and "Salt Lake City 2002," inscribed on his Devils mask in honor of the father-son Olympic medals.
"The entire New Jersey Devils organization is tremendously saddened by the loss of Denis Brodeur Sr.," Lou Lamoriello, the Devils’ president and general manager, said 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."