Martin Brodeur

Martin Brodeur on new role with Devils, Hall of Fame (PHT Q&A)

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It’s been a busy few months for Martin Brodeur. In August, he left his position as St. Louis Blues assistant general manager to take on the role of executive vice president of business development with the New Jersey Devils, the franchise that he spent 1,259 of his 1,266 NHL games with. A little over two months later he was inducted as part of the 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame class.

In his new gig with the Devils, he’s still getting a grasp on everything but he’s finding his hockey playing background is coming in handy.

“I think the fact that I played the game of hockey, I think there’s a lot of value for the business people here to kind of pick my brain about what the game’s all about, what the players are comfortable and not comfortable to do,” Brodeur said. “I played here so long I know a lot of people around the arena. I’m sure it’s going to get a lot different moving forward, but right now it’s really a learning curve, sitting down with meetings and understanding a little bit about the business and where everything’s coming from.

“I’m fortunate to work with [Devils president] Hugh Weber, who’s been president in different organizations. He’s been here for a little while and it’s nice to learn and see how everything works on that part. They’re teaching me about business and I’m teaching them a bit about the game of hockey at the same time. It’s been good.”

Brodeur works 3-4 days a week and commutes back to his home in St. Louis to spend weekends with his family. After spending 55 days in Europe last season while with the Blues, the Hall of Famer wanted to take a step back and enjoy retirement.

We chatted with Brodeur earlier this season in his office inside Prudential Center to see what life was like these days for the legendary netminder and how he’s enjoying the switch from hockey operations to business development.

Enjoy.

Q. How did you go from playing to assistant GM to this position?

BRODEUR: “It happened quickly. [Blues GM] Doug Armstrong called me and said he needed me for a couple of months. I was going to retire anyway and so I said I’ll try it. I had never played for a different organization and it always intrigued me a little bit, so I took the challenge and went over there. When everybody got healthy I was not going to play, so I said it was time for me to move on. I was getting ready to get back to Jersey and Doug asked me if I wanted to stay as an advisor for the rest of the year — watch the games, travel with the team. I already had my apartment there and I told my wife I might as well just check it out and find out if I like it or not. I did that the rest of the year and I was going to move back to Jersey and [Doug] called me up and offered me the assistant general manager job.

“I still live there now. It was good. It was a good learning curve. I think the organization were really good to me. Now it’s just a different challenge. I think to be a good GM you have to understand the business of hockey a little bit and I have no clue. When I was there I was picking Doug’s brain and other people there, and now I’m living it. Obviously, I’m not sure what the future will bring me, I’m not worried about it, but I think I’m learning most of what’s going on in hockey outside of playing the game.”

Q. Did your curiosity for this side of the game develop later on in your career?

BRODEUR: “Later on. When retirement was eminent I had a lot of conversations with [former Devils GM] Lou [Lamoriello] about how it works, where the money comes from, how do guys generate [revenue], just a lot of questions. I wanted to do something to stay busy. I thought hockey was the [direction] I would go in and that’s what I did. It’s just that I didn’t think about how demanding it was and with your family and the little one at home and the wife, it’s like OK, we’ve got to be careful here.

“It’s something that always intrigued me a little bit, that aspect — who deals with what and how everything goes. When you’re in management in hockey you understand a little bit because you’re doing some of the travel for the team, the plane, the hotels, the meals. When you play, everything’s given to you. You don’t even know who’s doing what. You learn a lot about the game when you work on the other side. I was lucky enough to be exposed a lot in St. Louis to everything and now here it’s a different scale because what the Devils are. Right now, I’ve barely touched the Devils. I’ve touched the big umbrellas of the 76ers, Prudential Center, Devils. There’s a lot to learn and a big staff, that’s why I think it’s going to take me a long time because there’s so much — where everything’s coming from, from game ops to season tickets to suites to the 76ers to the building to the renovation of a building, real estate for a big company that wants to build up Newark. So you’re involved in a little bit of everything. It’s been really interesting and a big learning curve for me. I’ve been asking a lot of questions.”

Q. Do you see yourself getting back into hockey ops in the future?

BRODEUR: “Yeah, maybe. That’s not what I’m looking for for the near future. That’s not my goal. Tomorrow if somebody would offer me [a job], I would definitely decline. But in the future I don’t know what I’m going to do. This is good for me, my family. I’m commuting back and forth from St. Louis. This is a good setup. My weekends are spent with my family. I know with hockey ops I need to be ready, I need to be older, I need to get more experience if I ever want to do that again. I might just get really comfortable doing this because so far it’s been good.”

Q. Why didn’t you want to go in the coaching direction?

BRODEUR: “I did it for a couple of months when we fired Ken Hitchcock [in St. Louis]. I enjoyed it. I think it’s really rewarding. At one point it just got to be a lot of downtime, especially for a goalie coach because it’s not like you’re doing the X’s and O’s. But it was a fun experience, I really liked it. I think if I didn’t have a family that would be an unbelievable job to have. It’s not for everybody but I enjoyed it. I thought I was OK at it, I don’t know how good I was. But my goalie played well, so that was good.”

Q. You won Stanley Cups, Vezina Trophies, Olympic gold medals, you have a statue outside. Has the magnitude of being a Hall of Famer hit you?

BRODEUR: “It’s mind-boggling. First, you don’t expect to get a statue, that’s for sure, and you don’t expect to be in the Hall of Fame. Winning a Stanley Cup, that’s your goal, that’s what you work for. I played a team sport so you go out there and success is driven by the people that are around you and it makes you better. You can distinguish yourself a little bit out of the pack and people give you accolades, but when that phone call happens, even though everybody thought I was going to get the phone call you still, when you get it, it’s something.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Martin Brodeur is going home, returns to Devils in business development role

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Martin Brodeur is heading home.

After three years as the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues, one of the greatest goalies of all-time is taking a step back from hockey operations and putting his business hat on as the New Jersey Devils’ executive vice-president of business development.

“It feels fantastic to be back home here in New Jersey,” Brodeur told the Associated Press. “This unique opportunity will allow me to build on existing relationships in the business community and take on a new challenge in my career. I’ve been able to work in all facets of the game of hockey and have had a growing interest in the business surrounding the game.”

Brodeur, who is set to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame later this year, left his post with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, citing that he was chasing new opportunities, although it appears he will remain a resident in the Gateway to the West.

“I have a ton of respect for Marty in that he felt at this point in his life with his son, Max, he wanted to spend a little bit more time at home,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. “When you look at the hours an assistant manager has to put in, even in the summer preparing, Marty felt he needed to prioritize his family coming from playing and jumping right into management. He hasn’t had any time off. I certainly understand that. We wish Marty nothing but the best as he moves forward. When he does want to get back in the management role in hockey, his future will take him wherever he wants to go.”

With recent experience working in a hockey ops role with Team Canada, it will be interesting to see where Brodeur goes with this new role. He’s a three-time Stanley Cup winner with enough goaltending records to have his own book.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Brodeur back on the hockey side of the game in the future, but you can’t blame him for wanting to watch his kids grow up.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Brodeur signs three-year deal to be Blues’ assistant GM

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The St. Louis Blues are at a crossroads as an organization, but one thing seems to be clear: Martin Brodeur is rising up their executive ranks. The team signed him to a three-year contract to be their assistant general manager on Wednesday.

After playing a few regular season games with the Blues in 2014-15, Brodeur moved into a role as a “special adviser” during that same campaign. The 43-year-old told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that such a job merely made him want more.

“I really enjoyed it, but we had a conversation that I’d like to do more,” Brodeur said. “I want to learn as much as possible. I think it was a great opportunity for me to be around the team advising. But now after doing that for six months, I’d like to do a little more.”

It looks like his wish has been granted, and one assumes he’ll have at least some say in a key offseason for the franchise. Will they stick with head coach Ken Hitchcock? Should the Blues trade any core members to shake things up? Brodeur won’t be the one to make final decisions, yet he could whisper in GM Doug Armstrong’s ear on plenty of matters.

Brodeur to participate in Devils’ alumni game

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The New Jersey Devils announced today that Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens and Claude Lemieux would be among the participants in a March 7 alumni game that will comprise part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the club’s first Stanley Cup title.

Others scheduled to participate include Jacques Lemaire, Jacques Caron, Tommy Albelin, Sergei Brylin, Bob Carpenter, Shawn Chambers, Tom Chorske, Danton Cole, Ken Daneyko, Jim Dowd, Bruce Driver, Bill Guerin, Bobby Holik, John MacLean, Chris McAlpine, Randy McKay, Mike Peluso, Brian Rolston and Chris Terreri.

But it’s the recently retired Brodeur that led the release.

Brodeur, of course, raised more than a few eyebrows last week when he announced his retirement in front of a backdrop featuring the logo of the St. Louis Blues, the optics of the press conference leaving many wondering about his relationship with New Jersey president/GM Lou Lamoriello, and the Devils franchise in general.

“For anybody that thinks that me and Lou are not on the same page, everybody’s wrong,” insisted Brodeur.

It’s possible, we suppose, that the Devils could stage their own retirement ceremony for Brodeur as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations.

Related: Here’s why Brodeur is working for Blues (instead of Devils)

Brodeur enjoying his post-playing role with Blues

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Martin Brodeur has hung up his skates, but he certainly hasn’t slowed down. The 42-year-old former goaltender spent three straight contests in the press box with Blues GM Doug Armstrong as he learns to evaluate the game from a distance and adapts to his new role as a senior advisor to the general manager.

“It’s fun,” Brodeur told NHL.com. “I’m learning, asking a lot of questions. It’s something that has really interested me. The last three days have been fun, being involved.”

Armstrong sees Brodeur as a valuable addition given the legendary netminder’s wealth of playing experience and three Stanley Cup championships.

“What I’m trying to gain from him is his knowledge of the Eastern Conference, gain his knowledge on how he sees the game,” Armstrong said. “There’s as much teaching as learning from both of us now. That’s what makes it a really exciting relationship. With us we’re just trying to tell him what we look for in players, what we want to do at the trade deadline, how our philosophy of evaluating players is, what we look for. And then I get his input on how he looks at things and how he looks at players.”

The game looks slower to Brodeur from above, which he feels makes it easier to judge the players. At the same time, he’s interesting in learning what the best approach would be when it comes to evaluating talent.

He’s also enjoying his new role in life and while it’s too early to say for certain, Brodeur might have years ahead of him of work within the NHL, even if his days between the pipes are over.

Related:

Brodeur announces retirement, leaves ‘the game with a big smile on my face’

Brodeur on what he’d change to the game: ‘The trapezoid has to go’

Here’s why Brodeur is working for Blues (instead of Devils)