Born May 6, 1972 in Montreal, Quebec, Martin Brodeur was not the first goaltender in his family. His father, Denis, was the netminder for the bronze medal-winning Canadian team at the 1956 Olympic Winter Games. Denis later became the official photographer of the Montreal Canadiens, and young Martin often tagged along with his Dad to work, watching Patrick Roy in awe.
Martin attended Vladislav Tretiak's goalie school where the Soviet legend helped him progress in his position. By 1989-90, Brodeur was playing with the Sainte-Hyacinthe Laser of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he made the league's All-Rookie team. That summer, the New Jersey Devils selected Martin 20th overall in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.
Brodeur joined the Devils full-time by 1993-94, and with the second-best goals-against average and fourth-best save percentage during the regular season, helped lead New Jersey to a second-place finish in the league. Brodeur was awarded the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best freshman for his sterling performances all season.
After finishing ninth overall in the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, the Devils went on a roll in the post-season, and in the Stanley Cup Final, they swept the Detroit Red Wings to win the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. During the 1999-2000- season, Brodeur won 43 games for the second time in his career, and his stellar play in the playoffs carried the Devils to their second Stanley Cup championship.
After repeatedly coming close, in 2002-03, Brodeur was finally awarded the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender. The personal achievements also included the Jennings Trophy (lowest goals-against average), a berth on the NHL's First All-Star Team and a start in the NHL All-Star Game. His strong play continued into the playoffs, where Brodeur collected seven shutouts on the way to the team's third Stanley Cup championship. The following season, Brodeur won his second consecutive Vezina and Jennings Trophies, was again a First Team All-Star and a starter in the NHL All-Star Game.
In 2006-07 the Devils again won the Atlantic Division, backstopped by Brodeur's 48 wins, which set an NHL record. Martin won his third Vezina Trophy and was named to the First All-Star Team, also for the third time. He added his fourth career Vezina Trophy the following season.
On March 17, 2009, the Devils defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 to give Brodeur an NHL record 552 career wins. On December 18, 2009, he made his 1,030th career appearance, the most by a goaltender in NHL history. Days later, Martin set a record people believed would never be reached. With a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, he collected his 104th NHL shutout, breaking Terry Sawchuk's regular-season record. That season, seemingly rejuvenated by his success, Martin led the NHL in wins (45), shutouts (9) and games played (77). He won his fifth Jennings Trophy, and led the Devils to a divisional championship.
Following the 2013-14 season, his 21st with the New Jersey Devils, Martin tested free agency, and in November 2014, he signed a contract with the St. Louis Blues. Brodeur played in just seven games for the Blues before announcing his retirement on January 29, 2015, but finished his playing career in style with a 3-0 shutout, the 125th of his career.
During his extraordinary career, Brodeur set NHL marks for regular season wins (691), shutouts (125) and games played (1,266). He won 30-or-more games in 12 consecutive seasons, and also recorded eight 40-win seasons. His trophy case holds a Calder Trophy, four Vezina Trophies and five Jennings Trophies, and he was a member of three Stanley Cup championships. He was also named to the First or Second All-Star Team on seven occasions.
Brodeur was regularly selected to represent his country at international events. At the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Martin began as a back-up to Curtis Joseph, but was named the starter after the opening-game loss. Team Canada, and Brodeur, captured Olympic gold that year. Brodeur was selected as Team Canada's starter at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, although Canada failed to earn a medal. He was one of three goalies to play for Team Canada at the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, and the team was awarded Olympic gold after a stunning overtime victory over the United States in the deciding game.
The New Jersey Devils unveiled a statue of Martin Brodeur on February 8, 2016, and the next evening, retired his number 30. One final honour awaited, and after the obligatory three-year waiting period following retirement, Martin Brodeur was included in the Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2018.