If you look at my FanSided bio below, you will see I am a Blue Jackets fan from Cleveland. This was not always the case. While I now cheer for the local teams, I actually grew up in New Jersey, cheering mainly for the New Jersey Devils and the New York Jets. That is the main reason why today’s speculation that Martin Brodeur could be making his last start as a Devil hits home. I may be a Blue Jackets fan now, but the Devils were my first team and the one constant during the fandom has been Brodeur in net.
I can’t really blame Brodeur for wanting out of New Jersey. The team has made it clear they are ready to move on. Brodeur is faced with riding the bench, retiring, or looking for another place to play. A legend who is obviously still confident in his ability to play the game of hockey could not be expected to choose the first two. Therefore, putting on a new uniform for the first time in two decades is the only clear option.
I think the outcry from hockey fans over Brodeur playing elsewhere has to do with the hope and wish that Brodeur would continue to be a throwback to older times, when players were loyal to the logo on the front of their jersey. In today’s world, athletes follow the money / opportunity to play. It is rare for someone to remain with one team for their entire career.
For me, it hits home because it is one last link to my childhood fading away. I watched Brodeur play when I went to my first Devils game back in 1995. I lost my first tooth at that game (I still have the souvenir puck my dad bought me and told my mother was the culprit for the missing tooth). While the greats from my childhood have retired over the year; Scott Niedermayer, Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens, Brodeur has remained as that last link to 90s Devils hockey.
And now, he may be wearing a new jersey tomorrow. It just seems wrong.