In 20 NHL seasons, Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils has earned every honor that can be bestowed upon a goaltender. He's won the Stanley Cup three times, the Vezina Trophy four times and two Olympic gold medals. But there is one distinction the Devils legend never previously received: cover athlete for EA's popular NHL video game series.
That was until now.
Brodeur on EA NHL 14 cover.
(Click to enlarge) Courtesy: EA
In a cover vote campaign that received 22 million votes online and an additional million votes through Twitter, Brodeur was selected as the cover athlete of the upcoming NHL 14 game.
"I'm really excited to get voted on to the NHL 14 cover," Brodeur told the Devils website. "I think it's a great honor for me and for my family to represent not just myself but the New Jersey Devils on the cover of the EA Sports NHL game."
In the final round of fan voting, Brodeur edged Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who recently won the Vezina for the first time in his career. It's a new honor for 41-year-old Brodeur, who is the NHL's all-time leader in wins, saves and shutouts and likely will be enshrined someday in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Brodeur is the first goaltender to be featured on the game's cover since John Vanbiesbrouck of the Florida Panthers in 1997.
"I think when you get on a cover, you feel appreciated by the fans because they're the ones who are voting, and that means a lot to me, definitely at this stage of my career," Brodeur said. "And I think with not having many goalies on this game, for the history of the game ... so definitely to get a goalie back on the cover is something pretty cool."
Brodeur qualified for the final by beating Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings in the second-to-last round of voting, and Bobrovsky topped John Tavares of the New York Islanders.
"Especially competing with some younger players, sometimes, you know, with video games, it could have been tough for an older guy like me to get it done, so I'm definitely exicted I was able to get it done," Brodeur said.
The cover of NHL 13 featured Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers, who was named his team's captain shortly after edging Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators in the final round of fan voting. Last year's installment continued the legacy of the popular video game. In all, fans spent approximately 547 million minutes playing NHL 13, roughly equivalent to 7,411 NHL seasons.
EA's NHL 14 cover vote campaign was launched April 22, and fans had the opportunity to choose from a selection of 60 of the League's top players. This year marked the second time fans could vote for the game's cover athlete and the first time they could do so using player-specific hashtags on Twitter.
"It [tells you] that hockey fans are really vocal about what they believe in, and what they want, and it was an exciting time to see the fans really using everything they can to get their input," Brodeur said.