JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur never wanted to get into photography for a living, despite the fact that it was the profession of his father, who was considered a giant in the field of sports photography.
"I was the only one in my family that didn't pick up a camera because I wanted people to take pictures of me," said Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 retired by the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night during a special ceremony before a game against the Edmonton Oilers (8 p.m. ET; MSG, SNOL, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).
Brodeur had a lot of people take his picture during a legendary career that saw him rewrite the goaltending record books in the NHL. Among those that took pictures of him was his dad, Denis, who spent much of his adulthood as the team photographer for the Montreal Canadiens and published a book of goalie photos. Denis Brodeur's collection of 110,000 hockey photos was purchased by the League in 2006.
So, when Martin Brodeur was presented with the opportunity to attach his father's name to a project that would introduce New Jersey high school students to sports photography through a collaborative effort between the Devils, Panasonic and Henry Snyder High School here, the legendary goalie couldn't think of a better way to honor his father, who passed away in September of 2013 at the age of 82.
"I'm sure he is up [in heaven] and having a big smile and is really proud of what he has accomplished," Brodeur said at Charlie Heger Ice Rink during a speech celebrating the launch of the program, which will begin in earnest in March.
Professional photographers, including Bruce Bennett of Getty Images, will escort students to select Devils games and teach them the ins and outs of sports photography. The students will use cameras provided by Panasonic.
"They will teach them the passion and professionalism you can have behind the camera, as well as in front of it," said Hugh Weber, the president of the Devils.
For Brodeur, the program could not do a better job of passing on the work of his father and the lessons Brodeur learned about the craft of photography and about sports in general from his dad.
"Photography has been a big part of my life, my brothers and sisters, everybody was involved with my father; I did it too, but not like those guys," Brodeur said. "It meant a lot to us. I live my life through photography, through pictures. To this day, I go back to my parents' house and the pictures from when he started doing photography after he finished playing hockey [are there]. It's our life. He was really good at it. My dad was a great man, so it is really nice to see that recognition."
Brodeur knows that the art of photography, as practiced by his father is almost gone. Digital cameras have replaced manual models and photo-editing programs have replaced hours in the dark room trying to create the perfect look and feel for a photograph.
Monday, Brodeur told a story about going to baseball spring training each year during school vacation so his dad could take pictures of the Montreal Expos. He vividly remembers his dad draping garbage bags over the windows in the hotel room to create a dark room to work on the photos. As a youngster, Martin Brodeur would squeegee the photos after they came out of the bath and hang them on a line to dry.
"I did that all through my youth, so that was part of it," he said. "It was pretty cool stuff when you look back at it now.
To pass some of those experiences on to a new generation of photographers is what makes this such an exciting program to Brodeur.
"For me, it meant a lot because I know he would be real proud to have it in his name," Brodeur said. "Photography was everything in our house."