Goaltender Ryan Miller of the USA makes a save during the USA v Canada Men’s Hockey Game at the Canada Hockey Place during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 21, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.The USA won 5-3. Shot with the new 70-200 IS, Canon Mark III on magic arm and pocket wizard. (Photo by Donald Miralle)
I returned to Vancouver late yesterday evening for the sole purpose of covering the Canada v USA Men’s Hockey Match. I had to swing by the by the stadium at about 10:00 pm directly from Whistler to fill out the remote catwalk access paperwork, so I would be set to hang the camera remotes early next morning. Seemed like a needless step, but part of the protocol if you wanted to place the camera up the next day.
David Backes #42 of the USA is checked by Chris Pronger #20 of Canada during the USA v Canada Men’s Hockey Game. Shot on a Canon 5D Mark II and 15mm. Thanks for the fisheye loaner Bob! (Photo by Donald Miralle)
After waking up at about 7am after about 4 1/2 hours of sleep, I made a Starbucks pit-stop which was conveniently located next to the St. Regis Hotel where I was staying. I then quickly grabbed all my gear and walked to the stadium, which was only about 7 blocks but seemed like 17 with all the gear I was hauling. After arriving 15 minutes before we were scheduled to hang the gear up in the catwalk, I built my remotes, making sure all the safety cables were attached to all parts before going up.
I thought I was going to get a different angle up there today until I joined about 25 photographers who too had aspirations of getting the remote shot o Martin Broduer on his back making a save. I can seriously say that in 13 years of doing this, I have never seen so many people and cameras up in a catwalk. It made me a little sketched that so many guys were up there hanging shit out of the rafters, but Photo Marshalls Richard Lam, Steve Dykes and Co. did a great job giving everyone time to get what they needed.
After a great match between the talented Russian and Czech Republic team, packed with great action (see Jagr getting his clock cleaned by Ovechkin) the arena was cleared to prepare for the main event. The Canadian fans descended on Canada Hockey Place on Sunday night to watch their star-studded NHL team take on lesser known American players in a match that lived up to the expectations. The arena had almost a Game 7 Stanley Cup buzz to it, minus the beards, but the crowd was quickly quieted by a goal by the Americans early in the 1st period. I expected that the larger more experienced Canadian Team to dominate the Americans; but to my surprise the Americans were quicker and capatalized and counter-attacked on Canadian mistakes. It also helped that Goaltender Ryan Miller played lights out, throwing his body around and making saves left and right.
I had the pleasure of shooting most of the night next to Bob Frid, who was nice enough to lend me a fisheye after mine broke, and Damian Strohmeyer of Sports Illustrated, whom I have worked next to at football games for years but never had the chance to meet. It’s always good to meet other photographers whose work you look up to, get to put a face to the name, and also see that they are stand-up people.
Not having shot hockey for at least four years, maybe even 8 years (was it Torino or Salt Lake?) I was happy that it was a auto-focus fest and like riding a bicycle. But it’s still the hardest sports I’ve covered when it comes to getting really different and standout image. The Canadians love this sport and it was a great night being in the arena with the electricity of fans, a couple of great games, and maybe a preview of the gold medal match on the final day of the Olympics (not too far away!)
It’s 1:30am now and I’m back in Whistler after a long bus ride back up the hill. It feels like I’ve done that drive a hundred times in the last week and wouldn’t be bummed if I never did it again. Unfortunately, I have to cover Team Ski Jumping at the crack tommorow, so no sleep for the wicked tonight, and then head back down the hill to Vancouver again…The end is in sight and I just have to muster up the energy to get to the finish line! Thanks for reading, please keep the comments/suggestions coming and we’ll check in manana!