Richard Brodeur tended goal in the mold of the prototypical little backstopper with razor-sharp reflexes and the agility to leap, flop, and stretch to cover holes that don't exist for larger goalies. And although some would resent being so small, Brodeur simply considered his size and style of play to be as valid as any other. The key was to keep the puck out of the net, a task he handled quite well throughout most of his career.
He played junior hockey for the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL from 1970 to 1972. In 1972, Brodeur was selected by the New York Islanders in the Amateur Draft. He opted instead, however, to join the Quebec Nordiques of the WHA. Over the seven seasons that followed he tasted pro hockey in all of its twists and turns. He faced a whole range of talents from amateurs to Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull.
In 1975-76, he experienced his best season as a professional by leading the WHA in games played at 69 and games won at 44. But as the Nordiques joined the NHL in 1979-80, Brodeur was left unprotected with his rights reverting to the Islanders. By then, however, they were filled to the brim with Billy Smith and Chico Resch between their pipes. As a result, Brodeur was sent to the minors where he toiled until the Vancouver Canucks picked him up in 1980.
In his second season on the West Coast, the little backstopper became a giant known as "King Richard" as he led his club on an extraordinary playoff run to the finals against the powerful New York Islanders. Canucks fans began to wave white towels yelling for "King Richard" to lead the way. The effort was valiant, though the Isles prevailed.
Brodeur remained as a stalwart Canuck until 1987-88. At that time, he was demoted to the AHL for a short stint before being traded to the Hartford Whalers. He appeared in only six games with the club to finish the season. He came back for one more go the following year, but retired after only six games with the Binghamton Whalers of the AHL in 1988.