It’s time to share some more photos of my favorite subject, ha ha! Although my blog has definitely morphed into much more than I ever thought it would when I started it well over a year ago, my heart still belongs to hockey photography, which is how it all began. 🙂 This post is really just about hockey and pictures, so anyone looking for weight loss and/or fitness inspiration will find nothing to provide motivation today. But I’d like to think you’ll find some great hockey stories! 😉
I have been taking pictures like crazy at every game this season with just a couple of exceptions. (Games I either missed or when I wasn’t feeling well.) One thing I will say about DS#1’s new team for the spring is that the parents are very enthusiastic about my photography. To be honest, they’re great for my ego. 😉 I have had so many positive and grateful comments about my pictures, all of which I put up on a Shutterfly team sharing site so that they can get at them easily. Many parents have come up to me and thanked me personally for my time and effort, and given me great praise for my work. Their comments have truly humbled me and have been such a boost to my photographic self-esteem–I’m no professional, but for these parents, obviously having someone take pictures, even an amateur, is a great benefit for which they are all appreciative.
Sometimes, I get frustrated with myself for missing shots. I try very hard to keep focused on the action and to never miss those great moments that we live for as hockey parents…the goals, the saves, and yes, even the hits, lol! But the truth is that I am a hockey mom first and a photographer second, and I miss a lot more than I would like, simply because I do still get wrapped up in the game. But, I do get lucky sometimes and happen to get some great hockey moments. One shot in particular of which I’m quite proud is of our first-string goalie…we’ll call him G1 (because it’s easy, lol!).
No, not that shot. That’s just to show you who he is. 😉 G1 is an amazing goalie–I have seen him make some saves that just blew my mind. He does an amazing job anticipating players’ movements and nearly always seems to know where the puck is going to be. He has amazing reflexes, and his knowledge of what’s going on around him at all times would be pretty impressive for a kid at any age, but much less at ten years old! In one recent game against a very tough team (the team that eventually went on to win our league championship), one of their skaters got off a hard, incredibly fast shot that he managed to lift in the air over G1’s head. It happened so fast, few skaters on either side realized it, but G1 not only saw it coming, he even managed to grab it out of the air on its way into our net. Trust me when I tell you that he acted on a split-second to grab that puck and rob that player of a score.
The parents from our team who were standing around me were all in awe…”He caught it?!” “No way!” “Holy sh*t, how did he even see that coming??” The dad standing directly next to me, who is one of my most grateful supporters, turned and saw me snapping photos and immediately asked, “Did you get that?” I scrolled back through my shots, and sure enough, I did!
I showed it to the dad who had asked, and he was over-the-top excited. He immediately started telling all the parents around us that I had gotten the shot, and I showed it to several of them. They were all very complimentary of it. A little bit later, G1’s dad (who unfortunately had just gotten to the game a few minutes after that save) walked by, and the first dad grabbed him by the arm. “You have to see this shot that Stephanie got of the glove save that your son made!” Ha ha, I really like that dad…he’s someone whose enthusiasm rivals mine!
G1’s dad was actually quite pleased with the shot and asked me if I would email it to him directly when I had the chance. I did finally get to do that yesterday, and he sent back the nicest email, praising my photography and expressing great appreciation for the shot and all my pictures. I must admit, I felt very warm and fuzzy afterwards. 🙂
Wow, that was a lot of text for just two pictures, lol, but I am a story-teller, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, and for me, half the fun of the pictures is remembering the stories behind them. 😀 Here’s another one: we have another goalie on the team (we’ll call him G2), and the two goalies actually alternate play (each plays a full game when they are in net, instead of splitting each game). This goalie isn’t in net as often, but he has a lot of heart and he has also made some great saves. In our last game of the season, he had a particularly exciting moment when one of our kids (okay, I think it was actually my kid…) laid on the puck in front of the goal. Because this is not allowed (you are unfairly keeping your opponent from his ability to score), they called this a penalty with a resulting penalty shot.
I didn’t realize what had happened until I saw all the players skating toward the boards and the ref putting the puck at center ice. I am usually down at the opponent’s net when I shoot (to get the scores, of course!), so I had to run at full speed (carting my heavy camera) across the rink to get there in time to get it on film. I could hear the shouts of “Run, Steph, run!!” as I dashed past our end of the bleachers toward our net, lol. (If nothing else, I’ve made a name for myself on this team. 😉 )
It was nerve-wracking, because we were already down 4-2 at this point, and Lord knew we didn’t need another shot scored on us. G2, however, looked as unflappable as any kid I’ve ever seen in that situation…
No goal! He was so proud of himself, and completely fired up after passing that test.
You can’t see it the picture, but he was giving a little “hoo-rah” type yell in that shot above. 😉 It was quite exciting to watch…unless you ask G2’s mom, who later admitted to me that she had covered her eyes because she just couldn’t watch, lol! She was quite appreciative of the high-speed pictures I took. 🙂
Now that I’ve shown you pictures of other people’s kids, you know I have to show off my own, right? Hey, what else is my blog for if not to brag on my hockey players? 😉 Today I want to brag on DS#1 and show off a couple of my favorite pics. The first pair are from the game I mentioned earlier against the team that went on to win the championship. Four of our former teammates are on this team, including my friend Tonia’s son, so it was quite a battle. Just like the first game against his old friends, my son was extremely fired up. The shot below is one that just cracks me up, because I have noticed that he has been doing this a lot lately.
It seems that whenever he is faced with a forward on a breakaway, he does this “Yeah, come and get me” stance as he skates backwards to protect his net. I would even venture to say it is becoming his signature move. 😉 It worries me a bit, because even though I really don’t know anything about hockey, I hear more-experienced parents yelling “two hands on the stick!!!” all the time, so I get fearful when he does this one-handed thing. And yet, I can’t deny that most of the time…he gets the job done.
I am so proud of how much he’s developed this season. One thing I can say with certainty is that his new coaches have really given him a sense of confidence that I don’t believe he had under the old coaches. I don’t think I ever saw him do that move prior to this season, and I’m really happy this team has helped him grow as a player and given him the self-assurance I felt he was often lacking before.
And finally, I do have two more shots of DS#1 from our last game of the season. It was a much tougher game than I anticipated, since we’d beaten that same team 3-1 just the week before. But they took advantage of some lucky breaks and a few miscues on our team’s part (ie, penalties), and eventually they were up 4-2. However, after G2’s awesome stop on the penalty shot, the momentum seemed to turn. Our boys were fired up and, true to their nature, were not giving up. Unfortunately, with about 5 minutes left in the game, we got another (damn) penalty. Argh!! But then, right after the face-off, one of our kids got the puck, took it to the goal–and scored! A short-handed goal! Now it was 4-3!
Then, on the post-goal face-off…that exact same kid won the face off, took the puck down, and scored again just 30 seconds later! And I don’t mean 30 seconds on the game clock–I mean thirty seconds in real time! (I know; I have pictures of both goals* and the time stamp is exactly 30 seconds apart!). Talk about exciting!
We won the next center-ice face off, too. The boys took the puck down, made a few passes, took a shot on net and missed, took another shot–and scored again! Three goals in less than 2 minutes–all while short-handed! I tell you, that was the most exciting 104 seconds of hockey I’ve ever seen. 😀
So now we were up by 1, with about 3 minutes left to play, and the game was intense. All the players on both teams were fighting hard for the puck. We were down in their zone, and one of the other guys slapped it away from their net and sent it back toward the blue line, where my DS#1 was standing ready. He kept the puck in the zone and then quickly got a shot off. It happened so fast, in fact, that I didn’t even take a shot of it, nor did I take a shot of it sliding underneath the goalie’s pad, nor sitting in the back of the net.
But I did get this shot…
It’s hard to see, but DS#1’s mouth is wide open as he screams his delight that he scored another goal! 🙂 I was pretty much doing the same thing, lol. 😉 Although I didn’t get every moment of the goal on film, I did get the celebration afterwards, and I will remember this goal for years to come with the help of those few pictures. It was a great feeling to hear all the families on our team shouting my son’s name in congratulations as he gave us that final “insurance” goal and helped make our last game of the season a win.
Well, that’s way more than you wanted to know about hockey and photography, but I must admit, I do love blending the two, mostly because it allows me to relive some great memories, and to help other families relive them, too. 🙂
Thanks for reading!
*Note that I would have loved to share my pictures of our three short-handed goals in 104 seconds (I did get great shots of all of them), but I did not ask the parents of those kids for permission and thus do not feel comfortable sharing them. I did ask both G1 and G2’s parents specifically if I could use their sons’ pictures on my blog, and they were both kind enough to agree.