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A 'King's' secret passion for paint
Painting and hockey were always two of Richard Brodeur's passions.
But while he played hockey for a living during the 1970s and 1980s, his painting remained a secret.
"I loved painting, but as a professional athlete, you don't really come out and say you are an artist/painter, that wouldn't go over too well in the dressing room," he admitted.
"I kept that pretty private."
Brodeur's pro career began in the World Hockey Association with the Quebec Nordiques and he played in his home province until the league merged with the NHL in 1979. With his rights belonging to the New York Islanders, who had selected the goaltender in the 1972 NHL amateur draft, he played in the Islanders organization for a season before he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks.
In 1982, he earned a place in Canucks lore, earning the name King Richard as he lead the underdog team to the Stanley Cup finals, where they lost to the New York Islanders.
Many times, Brodeur would come home after a game and paint until three or four in the morning.
"It was a pressure reliever, a way to get away from the game," he said.
His last NHL season was split between the Canucks and Hartford Whalers in 1987-88. He retired the following year, having played 333 games, and all but eight with Vancouver.
Following his playing days, Brodeur got into business, and he now runs his own event management company, based out of North Vancouver.
Art remains a passion.
"The weekends, that is my hobby, that is my getaway, my relief from the pressure of business," he said. "This is something I will cherish forever."
He spends about 20 hours a week, usually on the weekends, on his paintings, although he said he would love to do this full-time, putting in 60 hours a week exclusively on his art.
When Brodeur was on the ice, all he could control was giving his best effort and hoping the results were positive.
But as an artist, he said, there is no control.
"You just put (your piece) on the wall and have to be proud of what you do.
"As an artist, your reward is that someone liked it and bought it. It puts a smile on my face when I see a little red dot on it, because it means it was sold and someone liked it."
While selling a piece is exciting and the end goal, Brodeur does it for more than that.
"But first of all, you do it because it is a passion and you want to do it," he said. "Am I going to be a millionaire doing paintings? No, I don't think so, but I will be happy doing it and that is the only that matters, to bring joy to people."
For the past 15 years, Brodeur has done art shows both in Quebec and B.C.
His latest show, Art on Ice, opens this weekend at the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery in Fort Langley and runs until April 29.
On Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m., Brodeur will be at the gallery.
The show features oil, acrylic and watercolour paintings of Brodeur's childhood memories of growing up with pond hockey, street hockey and backyard hockey in his hometown of Longueuil, Que.
Brodeur says his childhood memories are the same as thousands of other hockey-loving kids from across the country.
"When people look at (the pieces), they are happy and it brings back memories from when they grew up," he said.
Some of the kids in the photos have Rocket Richard, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and Guy Lafleur jerseys on, while others have current stars such as Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
"I always add a personal touch, something that is close to me," Brodeur said.
"To me, (these works) are very Canadiana," said Brenda Alberts, the owner of the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery.
"They are very bright and the kids are happy."
Brodeur has also produced pieces of fishing villages in Haida Gwaii, lakes and orchards of the Okanagan, and ports and coves of Nova Scotia.