On December 28, 2019, I had the chance to photograph a Hershey Bears ice hockey game. Going into this, I have only photographed concerts. Let me tell you something, concert photography and sports photography are two different ball games. The people you are photographing are moving faster on ice than at a concert. I had to adapt faster than I usually do in photography situations.
Meeting the photographers of the team was interesting. The head photographer, Bill Duh, gave me the lowdown on how things worked and where all I could take photos. He was very helpful and introduced me to a few of the other photographers, including Caroline O’Connor and Tori Hartman. Talking to both O’Connor and Hartman was very educational and easy. As the first two women photographers I met, I asked them if they had any advice for me for starting out in the field. O’Connor told me to make as many female friends in the industry as I could. Hartman told me even if I did not know what I was doing to pretend I knew what I was doing, and no one would know the difference.
I felt super underdressed at certain points. Most of the male photographers were dressed in blue jeans while O’Connor and Hartman were wearing dress pants and a dress shirt. I ended up wearing a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt. O’Connor commented on my outfit saying, “You look like you just came from an Aerosmith concert. It’s cool. Don’t sweat it. This is your first game. You just know for to do for next time.”
Photographing my first hockey game was a bit intimidating at times, too. Everyone knew what was going on and how things worked. I had no idea. I was constantly asking people for directions to other locations and how to get to different places from the stairwell. Everyone was helpful and nice when I asked. I had to talk to a few of the security guards in between the first two periods of the game to be directed in the right area.
Getting to experience a piece of how photographing an official hockey game was a phenomenal experience. I had the opportunity to sit in the press box and work beside photographers in the field. Just the experience alone being able to watch and photograph the game up close was amazing. I watched Hershey’s goaltender get pucks shot at him with a crazy amount of force. I saw both the Bears and Baby Penguins get into a fight. I got to witness one of Hershey’s forwards, Mike Sgarbossa, get hit in the face and his nose broken. Being up close to a game is an experience I will never forget. All the advice I was given and the connections I made I will always appreciate. I can only thank Matt Trust, the Bears’ media coordinator, Bill Duh, Caroline O’Connor, and Tori Hartman so much for the wonderful experience.