It was a life that he chose not to share with the general public, or even with his teammates.
Richard Brodeur was a painter.
As an NHLer, Brodeur understood that his on-ice brethren would likely mock his artistic endeavours. Somehow, the macho locker room culture didn’t quite gel with the fine arts.
“Painting has always been a passion of mine,” says Brodeur.
“When I was playing with the Canucks I was painting at home and brought a sketch pad with me on the road. But it’s not something I mentioned to my teammates. You’re always considered a flake as a goalie anyways, and then if you walk in to the locker room and tell them you’re an artist they are going to laugh.”
Brodeur played seven seasons in a Canuck uniform. He earned his spot in Canucks’ lore in 1982, when he backstopped the team to its first Stanley Cup final appearance and was given the moniker King Richard.
The native of Longueil, Quebec retired from hockey in 1987 and subsequently returned to his home province to work for the Labatt Brewing Company.
“I was a territory manager for them for seven years,” says Brodeur.
“It was like a franchise. I had my own trucks, and my own employees, buying and selling Labatt’s products.”
After structural changes within the Labatt organization, Brodeur moved to Vancouver in 1997 and entered into the hotel management business, as a General Manager, first for the Coast Hotel chain and then for the Executive Inn in Burnaby. He soon discovered, however, that the corporate world was not fulfilling enough.
So, in 2002, at the age of 50, Brodeur decided to re-focus his professional pursuits - this time towards his passion for art.
For the past several years, the former NHL net-minder has been participating in art exhibitions to showcase and sell his paintings. He utilizes oils, acrylics, and water colours to create abstract paintings as well as images of ‘Canadiana’– images such as the fishing villages in the Queen Charlotte Islands, lakes and orchards of the Okanagan, and the ports and coves of Nova Scotia. His most popular series is a collection of paintings titled ‘My Childhood Hockey Memories” – which features depictions of youngsters playing hockey on frozen outdoor ponds.
“Things are going very well,” says Brodeur of his painting career.
“Will I become rich from this? I don’t think so, but it pays the bills.”
Brodeur paints four to eight hours a day as a full time member/artist at the Birthplace of BC Gallery in Fort Langley.
“I have had two passions in my life,” he says.
“One was playing hockey and the other one was my art. And I’m a lucky guy because I have been able to do both.”
King Richard’s passion for art is no longer a secret. And this time no one is laughing.