As many of you know, my family has had a rough last year with Isla’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. During that time we had a lot of people help us out. It’s amazing to see how quickly people step up in a time of need and are there for you. It’s with that in mind that I started the Strong and Cancer Free apparel to give back and the same reason that when Jacqueline from Hockey Helps the Homeless contacted me about this event, I was in right away.
It’s not often us hockey players get to play a game with former NHLers, but that’s exactly what was going on at the RBC Centre (formerly the Dartmouth 4-Pad) on November 9th, 2018. Hockey Helps The Homeless has been around for a while, but this was their first event in Halifax, and I am proud to have been able to volunteer my services as the official photographer for the tournament. The tournament aims to raise money for VETS (Veterens Emergency Transition Services) which helps veterans in need. The way they do this is via a Pro-Am hockey tournament which pairs a professional hockey player with a team of amateurs. The team that raises the most money gets the first pick in the draft, which was held the night before the tournament at Bubba Ray’s. The headlining player was Doug Gilmour and he was the undisputed first pick.
The Pros for 2018 were Doug Gilmour, John Scott, Georges Laraque, John Sim, Brad May, Sergio Momesso, Stephane Richer, Ric Jackman, Dan Daoust, Ramzi Abid, Todd Warriner, Rick Vaive, and Bernie Nicholls. Stepping on the ice with these guys is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us and you could see everyone having a good time. It always helps to be playing for a cause. The mood is lighter, people are more willing to forgive indiscretions on the ice. Molson being a sponsor and providing beer in the dressing rooms didn’t hurt either.
Since I was shooting and not playing, I can’t speak to the players exact experiences, but I enjoyed the perspective I saw the day from and had a chance to talk with some of the players throughout the day. One guy I probably talked to more than the others was John Scott. We’re about the same age and both fathers to daughters, so when I saw him sitting on his knees talking to a little girl, I really appreciated that. I had 2 pucks in my pocket and I had John sign both pucks and made sure that little girl got one of them. Another thing I saw John Scott doing was passing a puck back and forth through the door to the ice with a little boy who was off the ice. It’s little moments like that which that boy will remember for a long time, and his parents will no doubt appreciate and remind him of forever.
Another cool moment for me was meeting Brad May. When I lived in Niagara Falls, they had an OHL team called the Thunder, and my favourite player was, you guessed it, Brad May. I had a stick signed by the entire team and 2 signatures wore off over time, Brad May, and Keith Primeau, the only 2 guys to have any real NHL career from that team. I brought with me a pennant I had since I was a kid and had May sign it. He hadn’t seen anything Thunder in like 30 years.
Aside from my personal experiences meeting players, spending a whole day at the rink watching and shooting hockey was a good day for me on its own. I have been considering it for a while now, so I should probably just put it out there that I am going to Start offering Action Sports Photography. I will post some information regarding pricing on the pricing page, so feel free to contact me if you’d like to have photos done. I am going to offer digital images downloadable from my site and the option of covering a single player, small groups, or an entire team for varying price points.
If you are interested in seeing photos from the Hockey Helps the Homeless Tournament in Halifax, they can be seen in 2 locations, action photos on my website HERE and draft night photos HERE or on the HHTH Flickr Page HERE and HERE
Here is a sampling of my work from the tournament.