This spring, hockey fans have watched as an athlete set one of their sport's most important records. Martin Brodeur, the goaltender for the New Jersey Devils, earned his 551st career win on March 14 when the Devils beat the Montreal Canadiens. The victory tied him with Hall-of-Famer Patrick Roy for first place on the all-time wins list. Brodeur broke the record a few nights later.
In hockey, the goaltender is perhaps the most important position on the ice. He is the last line of defense and his sole responsibility is to keep the other team from scoring. Because the position is so important, the goalie is also credited with a "win" when his team wins the game. No goalie has helped his team win more games than Martin Brodeur.
In every sport, it's exciting when an athlete breaks an important record. Fans have been lucky enough to see that happen several times this decade. In 2004, Seattle Mariners' outfielder Ichiro Suzuki picked up 262 hits, the most ever in a single season. In 2001, New York Giants' linebacker Michael Strahan recorded 22.5 sacks, setting the record for sacks in a single season.
Records are important because they represent the history of sports. In the days leading up to Brodeur's big game against the Canadiens, lots of fans were talking about Patrick Roy, the man whose record Brodeur was chasing. Even though Roy retired from hockey in 2004, people remember that he was one of the greatest players of all time. Records help honor the best players in sports, whether they are currently competing or played 50 years ago. Records are a way to remember great things that happened in the past.
Among the many fans in the crowd that watched Brodeur tie the record was Patrick Roy himself. Even though he wasn't going to hold the record anymore, Roy cheered for Brodeur and congratulated him after the win. It wasn't just a time to celebrate the achievements of one goalie, but also to celebrate the long tradition of hockey history.
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