'King' Richard Brodeur mixes paint and memories
England’s future king and queen may be giving this part of Canada a miss when the newlyweds embark on their first official visit this summer, but their presence may not be missed so much in Fort Langley.
The village will soon boast its very own monarch.
“King” Richard Brodeur announced Sunday that he is moving to Fort Langley as soon as next month.
The former NHL goaltender and painter made the proclamation at the Lamplighter Café during an evening of fine art and fine dining hosted by the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery, where his work has been displayed for the past couple of years.
Although best known in these parts for his heroics on the ice, Brodeur actually began pursuing his off-ice passion — painting — early in his life as well, picking up a brush at 16.
It is a talent he believes he inherited from his father, who could draw with ease but never pursued art, even as a hobby.
Painted in bright acrylics — with red often playing a prominent role — Brodeur’s work mainly depicts scenes from his childhood in Longueuil, Que., where he and his brothers joined the other boys in the neighbourhood (and, no, girls weren’t welcome) on the outdoor ice rinks where they spent their winter days wrapped up in games of shinny.
Others are set at his uncle’s pig farm, where he spent summers haying and then, when the weather turned, skating on a frozen pond.
Brodeur feels lucky, he said, to have been able to pursue both of his big passions, even though the two didn’t mesh all that well.
Going through a Stanley Cup run, as his team did in 1982, players learn a lot about one another, he said, but many of Brodeur’s teammates were unaware until a couple of years ago, that he was also an artist.
He kept his two loves separate for a reason.
When you have a bunch of macho athletes gathered in a dressing room, he said, “you don’t want to see a guy come in with his brushes.”
Although the night was a celebration of Brodeur’s art, conversation inevitably turned to the Vancouver Canucks’ run for the team’s first Stanley Cup and his own experience, nearly 30 years ago.
The retired goalie talked about one game in particular, when the Canucks beat the Chicago Blackhawks in double overtime on their way to the finals against the New York Islanders.
The staircase between the dressing room and the ice surface in the old Chicago Stadium, was long and very steep, and climbing it in full gear was getting tougher with each break between periods.
As the team returned to the ice for the second overtime, Brodeur turned to a teammate, and said: “One of you guys better f****ing score, because I’m not climbing these stairs again.”
Although that squad fell just short of championship glory, Brodeur told the gathering on Sunday night that he is confident this will be Vancouver’s year.
“Yes, I believe the Canucks are going to win the Stanley Cup,” the King proclaimed. “And, yes, I believe Luongo will be a key factor.”