Martin Brodeur – Central Park Restaurant in Roselle, NJ
People from other states don’t often consider NJ a state where the distinction ‘North Jersey’ or ‘South Jersey’ tends to make a difference. Those same people have likely never driven on the NJ Turnpike. To hockey fans, the North/South distinction can mean a world of difference when it comes to team loyalties, as the NJ Devils make their home in the Northern Part of the state while only the Delaware River stands between South Jersey & Flyers Territory.
Once again, I convinced my Dad to leave our friendly Philadelphia Flyers market area in South NJ & head up North into enemy territory to collect another goalie ‘graph.
The Martin Brodeur signing @ Central Park was listed on http://www.signingshotline.com. I got a ticket as soon as my dad agreed to drive up there with me. [The Turnpike makes me sleepy, I can’t drive up & back the same day]. I was excited Ito add a ‘graph from a goaltending legend like Martin Brodeur. The day of the event I made sure we left early to avoid traffic. We got 2 Central Park in Roselle, NJ about an hour before the signing would begin. There was event space at the restaurant where people already started waiting in line, but it was a large space so it didn’t feel over crowded & we could relax and talk to the other people there. I showed my Dad cool hockey video clips on my Motorola Xoom while waiting for Mr Brodeur to arrive. My Dad held our place in line while I wandered around to see what was going on. A few of the other autograph-seekers began to notice the black & orange logo on my fave Flyer’s tee. I happened to look up at my Dad & realized he’d conveniently decided 2 wear a RED polo shirt that day. Somehow being female makes it OK to wear my teams’ colors into enemy territory. I’m not sure if it’s an overall appreciation of having a female fans appreciate the sport in general or the distraction of my ‘lady lumps’ (as Fergie would call them) distorting the team logo on my tee shirt, but most men don’t seem to mind what teams’ tee shirt I wear regardless of where I am.
Other than starting up a few interesting conversations, I’ve never been seriously given a hard time anywhere in the United States for wearing Flyers T’s in other NHL cities. Trying to pass through customs in Montreal wearing a Flyers Tee was a whole other story. [I’ve not been back to Canada since].
Back to NJ…. As people began to notice the differing color scheme between my Tee & theirs, there was an increase in the stares & comments. I explained I was a Flyers fan b/c they were my hometown team however I’d spent the day [and my dad’s day] driving up the turnpike and waiting here in line because [like them] I wanted an autograph from the all-time best goalie ever. This explanation seemed to satisfy their curiosity and no issues ensued. It’s well-known for years Philly that hasn’t seen any decent action between the pipes, so they were more than happy letting me visit their record-breaking netminder. It could also have been the snug fit of my Tee-Shirt. Either way, as usual, everyone was pretty friendly.
Note: I try to wear a Flyers tee (when the dress code of the event permits) when collecting goalie ‘graphs because how cool is it to have pictures of other teams’ goalies standing next to someone wearing a Flyers Tee — usually smiling. Aside from times when I had to dress nice for an event the only time I’ve cheated on the Flyers Tee so far was when getting Henrik Lundqvist’s goalie ‘graph. I only cheated a little as it was right after the Winter Classic & I’d worn a Flyers vs Rangers Winter Classic Tee. It was Grey with mostly blue writing but DID have a Flyer’s logo. I’m not sure why but Rangers fans are slightly more intimidating than any of the other teams’ goalies’ whose ‘graphs I’ve collected so far. [I’m not entirely sure I punctuated that last sentence correctly — my bad]
Back to NJ [again], once Mr. Brodeur arrived at the event, the line moved pretty quick. This was the exact moment I realized I’d left my Canon Elph in the car [Elph not Elf — it’s a tiny pink camera that takes awesome pics when anyone other than my dad is using it.] There wasn’t enough time 2 run out to my car. My dad had his iPhone. When we got to the front of the line Mr Brodeur signed theGoalieStick for me. My dad wanted a pic with Marty but there was a riser blocking wheelchair access so Mr Brodeur was really sweet & came over 2 pose for a pic with us. Suffice to say I won’t be replacing my camera with an iPhone any time soon, but it’s still a sweet photo. I thought it was very nice of Mr. Brodeur to come over so my Dad could be in the photo, especially when he had a long line of people to sign autographs for & given I was wearing his rival teams’ tee shirt.
Overall, the tickets for Marty’s goalie ‘graph weren’t too too expensive & the event was was well-organized. We didn’t wait in line too long once Mr. Brodeur arrived (on time) so the event overall went very smoothly.
Martin Brodeur’s ‘graph was a really nice ‘graph so I wanted to make sure he could sign on a smooth (non-textured) part of the stick. Since of the non-textured space on the front of the blade was filled, I had him start the other side of the blade with his ‘graph. I handed him a red sharpie because that’s the color of the NJ Devils. Marty also has a really pretty ‘graph like Henrik. So far Marty and Henrik’s ‘graphs are my two favorites (maybe no one tell Nabby I said that).
I only need one more ‘graph and I’ll have all the starting goalies in the Atlantic Division. I’m thinking the Pittsburgh Penguin’s goalie ‘graph is going to be somewhat challenging to obtain. After the whole round 1 playoff thing, I may need 2 get a Penguin’s Tee 2 wear. Not because I find Penguins fans intimidating but I’m slightly concerned their goalie might refuse 2 sign 4 me if he see’s I’m from Philly.
*** Update ***
The recent realignment of NHL divisions and recent changes in starting goaltenders has created a slight setback in my attempt to (at the very least) complete the starting goalies of my division, the now [awkwardly] named ‘Metropolitan Division‘ In addition to Marc-Andre Fluery [and / or Tomas Vokoun depending on whether he comes back or not] I also need to obtain Cam Ward and Braden Holtby’s ‘graphs. Since having originally obtained New York Islanders goalie ‘graphs, I now also need to acquire Kevin Poulin and Anders Nillson’s ‘graphs. This project continues to become more & more challenging.