November 21, 2015
Len Broderick's only NHL game came on October 30, 1957.
At the time Broderick was a 19 year old kid playing junior hockey with the Toronto Marlies. The Montreal Canadiens were in Toronto this night but right before the game goalie Jacques Plante came down with a serious asthma attack and was unable to play. The Leafs agreed to let the Habs use the junior aged goalie.
Perhaps the Leafs should have used the kid. He gave up only 2 goals en route to a 6-2 Montreal victory at the Maple Leaf Gardens.
Broderick, a stand-up goalie who idolized Leafs great Turk Broda, was paid $25 for the game - the most allowed to be paid to an emergency amateur substitute in those days. He was actually paid by the Leafs, as all teams were responsible for appointing and emergency goaltender for such events.
Broderick, only arrived at the rink that night less than hour before puck drop with his dad. Neither actually expected Len to play, so it must have been a real shock for his father to see his son skate out on to the ice!
Broderick remembers an early save the most.
“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.”
"Once I was in the game, I was in it. I had a shutout with about ten minutes to go. It was a great team I was playing with — probably one of the greatest NHL teams ever. I had Doug Harvey and Tom Johnson in front of me. They blocked a lot of shots. That’s what they did — they were very good," he told Stephen Smith for Slap Shot Diaries.
"I knew all the Leafs because I’d been up at training camp with them. I remember, there was a scramble around the net and I can remember Bob Pulford saying, Lenny, what are you doing to us?"
By the end of the night Broderick had made 22 saves. The Habs tipped their one night hero $150, too, but it was a photo withe Broderick between brothers Maurice and Henri Richard that he treasured the most from that night.
Despite a successful junior career, Broderick only played one season of competitive hockey following his graduation from the Marlies, and never again appeared in the NHL.
Broderick did pretty well for himself away from the rink. He now lives in Greenville, South Carolina where he is the Chief Financial Officer for a financial services company.
Len's younger brother Ken also made it to the NHL as a goaltender. The only other set of NHL goaltending brothers was Ken and Dave Dryden.