The rain could not put a damper on what was an entertaining afternoon for those fortunate enough to gain admission to the State House in Trenton for "Martin Brodeur Day" in New Jersey.
Brodeur was honored with joint resolutions in both the assembly and the senate.
As I pointed out in an earlier post, Devils co-owners Jeff Vanderbeek and Mike Gilfillan and general manager Lou Lamoriello were among those who made the trip down on the train from Newark to Trenton. They were joined on the train -- the first six cars were reserved for the Devils' party -- by alumni Ken Danekyo, Grant Marshall and Rob Skrlac, team radio announcers Matt Loughlin and Sherry Ross and team mascot N.J. Devil.
There was only enough room in the balconies of the assembly room and senate chambers for 300 fans. Those spots were filled in only two hours. Another 900 fans who wanted to go were put on a waiting list, so it was a pretty hot ticket. It was free, though, and fans received an autographed mini Brodeur goaltnder stick along with a goodie bag and box lunch for the hour-long train ride.
When we reached Trenton, school buses drove us another five minutes or so to the State House. Brodeur came to Trenton by private car.
The fans made it a pretty festive atmosphere in the assembly in the senate by starting chants of "Let's go Devils!, "Thank you Marty!" and "Close the Izod!" once in each house.
Anyone with even the smallest amount of hockey knowledge was cringing as Assemblyman Fred Scalera, who represtents Bergen, Passaic and Essex Counties, recited a lengthy review of Brodeur's career from his childhood to breaking Patrick Roy's regular season wins record on March 17. Scalera mispronounced Brodeur's first name repeatedly as "Mar-teen" and Jacques Lemaire's first name as "Joc-kes". He also mispronounced Roy as "Roy" instead of "Ru-wah".
Later in the afternoon, Senator Nicholas P. Scutari pointed out that Brodeur's first name was correctly pronounced "Mar-tan." which prompted a chant of "Mar-tan!" clap, clap, "Mar-tan!" from the balcony.
"You don't hear chanting in this place too often," Senate President Richard D. Codey said.
Brodeur made acceptance speeches in both houses and thanked the fans for their support in both.
"It's been a great ride for me," Brodeur said in his speech in the Senate. New Jersey is my home. It's where my kids were born and go to school. New Jersey is everything, the Devils are everything for me. I'm just glad to be a part of it. We wear our jersey with the New Jersey logo all over the United States and Canada to represent all of you guys."
He concluded by presenting Codey with an autographed goaltender's stick.
"I think we're going to need this to pass the budget," Codey joked.