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My Game: Len Broderick


MONTREAL | December 8th, 2008
My Game: Len Broderick
Normally the netminder for the junior Toronto Marlboros, a team he backstopped to the 1956 Memorial Cup, 19-year-old Len Broderick was also Maple Leaf Gardens’ stand-by goalie in 1957-58.

“Teams only carried one goaltender on the road then so every rink had to have someone available. They gave me $25.00 a game to go down to Maple Leaf Gardens just in case,” he recalled.

The first three games on Toronto’s home schedule passed uneventfully but the young netminder certainly earned his money in the fourth. Pressed into service when Jacques Plante was felled by an asthma attack, Broderick made his only NHL appearance on October 30th, 1957.

“I got there late that night. I was supposed to be there an hour before the game but I arrived 45 minutes before the start of the game,” he remembered. “They had to go and dig out my equipment so that took a little bit of time too.”

While the Habs were not the team of the Toronto native’s dreams, setting foot in the dressing room knowing that in a matter of minutes he’d be suiting up as one of them was both thrilling and intimidating for Broderick.

“They were a great team and they were on a roll,” he said. “Maurice Richard was the captain then. He came over and spent some time talking with me, which helped a lot.”

Broderick’s first big test came shortly after the opening face-off.

Frank Mahovlich got a breakaway on me. I’d been at the Leafs training camp and he had a move that beat me every single time he tried it. He’d always put the puck between my legs. We used to laugh about it,” he said. “Well this time I was determined he wasn’t going to beat me between the legs.”

The young replacement made the save and his temporary teammates took control of the game, Donnie Marshall drawing first blood at the 12:44 mark of the first period. A pair by Henri and then Maurice Richard and another off the stick of Jean Beliveau gave Montreal a 4-0 lead after two periods.

As the game progressed Broderick’s continued stoning of the Maple Leafs began to draw a few comments, he began to hear about it from the Toronto players.

“I’d played with Pulford and Baun the year before with the Marlies and they had a few things to say during the game to the effect of ‘What are you trying to do to us?’ and things like that.”
The Canadiens led by five by the time the Leafs managed to put a puck behind Broderick, his shutout bid ended by Barry Cullen at the 9:39 mark of the third period. Bobby Baun would also find the twine before the final siren ended things at 6-2.

Things turned out well on the ledger sheet for the youngster who went on to career in accountancy shortly afterwards. He received his usual $25.00 stipend from the Leafs and $150.00 from the Canadiens, rather than the going rate of $100.00.

A more lasting memento of Len Broderick’s brief but statistically impressive NHL career is the post-game photograph showing him flanked by the Richard brothers, who combined for three goals on the night.