Beckett Hockey

MARTY’S HALL OF FAME MEMORY

A MEETING WITH THE MAN HIMSELF IS THE MOST VALUABLE PART OF JOE LUCANIA’S IMPRESSIVE COLLECTION OF MARTIN BRODEUR MEMORABILI­A.

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MEET JOE: “My name is Joe Lucania and I’m 60 years old. I live in Hamilton Township, New Jersey with my dad. I have a brother, Christophe­r, who lives in New Jersey and also follows the Devils, and a sister, Pat, who lives in Nevada and recently got into hockey when the Golden Knights started in Las Vegas.”

GETTING STARTED: “I started watching hockey on TV in the late ‘80s, but I found it hard to follow. I went so far as to buy a book on the rules, but it wasn’t until a good friend of mine took me to my first game – a playoff tilt between the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins – that I really got hooked. When it came time to choose a team to root for, I naturally chose the home state Devils.

“I started collecting cards with 1990-91 Upper Deck. My friends and I would each buy a box and play our own version of pack wars. We would either use the best card or the highest number to win. Of course, now you really can’t do that because the boxes are a little more expensive.

“I quickly caught the bug and began collecting. First it was any players on the Devils, then players I liked on other teams. It got to be too much so I settled on one player. Naturally, that player was Martin Brodeur.”

THE COLLECTION: “At the point that I started collecting Brodeur, all of his cards were reasonably priced and finding any card I wanted was relatively easy. Of course, he went on become a Hall of Famer and arguably the greatest goalie in NHL history which meant lots of competitio­n for his cards along the way. These days, collecting him is a little more expensive so I have to be selective in what I pursue. Luckily I’ve befriended multiple dealers from whom I’ve been able to get great cards at a good price. Many friends and family also help. Thanks to them, I now own more than 3,500 Brodeur cards, and have multiple items autographe­d by him.”

FAVORITE CARDS: “It might sound odd, but I don’t have a favorite card in my collection. There’s something special in each one. Sometimes just hunting for the card is the best part of it. I’m sure that’s something to which a lot of collectors can relate.

“One set in particular that I’m proud of is the 2010 -11 ITG Ultimate Memorabili­a 10th Names set. There were just nine Silver copies of each letter in Brodeur’s name, along a Gold 1/1. I found six of the letters by 2015, being careful to get the two different Rs, but could not find the D. I had everyone I know looking for it. It finally turned up on eBay in 2020 where I managed to pick it up for just $10 plus shipping!”

KEEPING TRACK: “Figuring out what to do with 3,530 different Brodeur cards is a challenge. Good luck trying to display them all, right? With space at a premium, I display some of the best in a case. I rotate those cards frequently. I have a binder with two lists of Brodeur cards: What I have, and what I need. That list is now 200 pages long! I need to carry it with me when I go to an LCS or local show because it’s impossible to remember what I have let alone what I need. I’ve forgotten the binder more than once, and each time I find a unique card that I swear I don’t have only to come home and find that I do.”

A BIG HOBBY TENT: “I don’t limit myself to cards. I collect pretty

much anything that pictures Brodeur, from bobblehead­s to hats to McFarlane figures to pucks and pictures. Beyond Marty, I have a lot of other Devils memorabili­a including programs, photos, and cards, along with signed jerseys from Devils legends including Scott Stevens and John MacLean. I also own a Claude Lemieux jersey signed by the whole 10th-anniversar­y team and a game-used Scott Pellerin jersey that I purchased for just $25 at one of the Devils draft parties. I’d also say I have 20 or so game-used Devils items including an autographe­d pair of gloves from Zach Parise, autographe­d skates worn by Dainius Zubrus, and many sticks.

“Meeting and getting autographs from the players was easier when they played at the Brendan Byrne Arena than it is today at The Rock. That’s where I first met Brodeur, Stevens, Randy McKay, Mike Peluso, and many others. I even met Anthony Brodeur one day. Anthony is Marty’s son and a 2013 draft pick of the Devils.”

SACRED WOOD: “The best piece of memorabili­a in my collection is a gameused stick that Marty himself gave to me. I was early to arrive at a Devils-Penguins game so I went down to the glass to take pictures during warm-ups. Towards the end, Brodeur and Lemieux were the only two left on the ice, with Claude feeding Marty pucks at the blue line and he was putting them dead center of the net. When they left the ice Marty turned and began high-fiving fans as he was walking through the tunnel. I was at the top of the tunnel watching and suddenly he pushed his stick into my hands. I pushed it back, but he pushed it to me again. This time I held onto it and saw him salute me as he went into the dressing room.

“I mean, WOW!!! I had a game-used Marty stick, but now I had to carry it through the entire game. People were offering me all kinds of money for it or asking to hold it. Of course, I’d let them hold it but there was no way that I would sell it.

“Naturally, I wanted to get it autographe­d so I started bringing it with me to the rink. I would run into multiple players in the parking lot after games but Marty was nowhere to be seen. Of course, the first game I didn’t bring it with me, there’s Marty. I joked with him about missing my chance to get the stick autographe­d, and asked why he gave the stick to me and not one of the kids that were there that day. His answer shocked me. He said he remembered talking to me the previous season and that I said I would love to have a game stick. Wow. It still shocks me that he remembered that interactio­n, and it shows what a fanfriendl­y athlete he really is.”

THE CHALLENGE: “When you collect someone like Martin Brodeur there is an endless supply of collectibl­es from both the USA and Canada. It’s not easy to keep up, but it also never gets boring.”

TOP OF THE WANT LIST: “There really isn’t any particular card I’m looking for, but my dream would be to own a signed, game-worn Brodeur jersey. It’s probably unaffordab­le for most of us, but that’s what makes it a dream! The other thing would be to meet Marty again and have him sign the New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup tattoo on my arm, and then have his autograph tattooed on me.”

CONTACT JOE: “If anyone out there has anything unique or strange of Brodeur, please let me know. Even if it’s not for sale I’d love to hear the story behind it. You can reach me at jtlucania@yahoo.com.”

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