When my bosses in the NHL office in NYC asked if I wanted to work the NHL All-Star Game that would be in my backyard in Sunrise, FL, it was a pretty fast yes I said. Opportunities like this don’t come often and I wasn’t going to miss the chance to photograph the game’s best players in an NHL All-Star Game. I would have regretted it for the rest of my days had I not said yes. It was an amazing experience that hopefully I get to experience again.
NHL All-Star Warmups
For the All-Star warmups I asked to shoot from the bench of the Western Conference. I think I had a hard time containing my smile. I’ve never shot warmups from a bench before.
It was pretty surreal seeing all the fans line up along the glass waiting to get a glimpse of their favorite player. Also pretty surreal feeling the coldness from the ice a lot more than sitting on the other side of the glass.
Like I always do I go to the bench a little earlier than I was supposed to. I just wanted to take it all in. My first NHL All-Star Game and my first time on the bench to shoot.
The player began to come out for the team photos before warmups. I was capturing those in between moments of their interactions with each other as well as getting some photos of the photographers themselves. What photographer doesn’t love photos of them with players?
Warmups were fun to shoot. I had Connor McDavid in front of me and just on the other side was Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. The greatest players in the game today together in one spot for me to photograph was amazing.
I won’t lie though I did try to get one of the warmup pucks. As soon as practice ended they got scooped up so fast I didn’t even have a chance to snag one.
NHL All-Star Game Format
Like the NHL All-Star Skills Competition, the format for the All-Star game was a little confusing. Both conferences would be split into two then play each other and the winners would play each other for the title. Each “game” was 20 minutes.
For me where the confusion was more prevalent for me was trying to figure out who was who. Each conference warmed up in the same jersey colors and then during the game half of them were wearing a different color jersey.
I kind of wished the format would have been both conferences battling each other for three periods. I think that would have made it more exciting.
The game action was what you would expect from any sports All-Star game. A lot of goals and not a lot of defense. The games were a bit confusing more me trying to identify who was who on the ice.
It was just fast paced goal scoring after goal scoring. There were times I was transmitting and in the middle of transmitting I had to stop so I could capture content.
Hell I was just grateful to get the experience of an All-Star game under my belt. You never know when you’ll need to use that type of experience again.
I would say my favorite part of the game was watching the Tkachuck brothers, Brady and Matthew, play together along with Aleksander Barkov on a line. It felt like they were back to being kids playing together, just feeding off each other and always knowing where the other one was. And it worked as their team won and Matthew was named MVP of the game.
I can’t wait for the next NHL All-Star Game I can work!
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