So I apologize, because yet again I've fallen behind on my updates. It's been pretty hectic with work and photo stuff, so I'm trying to get something up tonight that kind of covers the main stuff. Last weekend was the NHL Stadium Series which is going to take up a majority of the post but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Gophers win against #6 Maryland, 68-63. The Gophers were 0-13 coming into Big Ten play and have been having quite a down year, but it all came together for them in the form of a solid win that ended with one of the most exciting parts of college basketball, fans storming the court. As a sports fan that's always been on my bucket list and I finally got to experience one.
Some photos of the chaos.
So, NHL Stadium Series. The Stadium Series is part of the NHL's efforts to host outdoor hockey games, along with the Winter Classic. While not as prestigious (and I use that word loosely) as the Winter Classic, the Stadium Series still provides fans in the area a weekend of entertainment with an alumni game and outdoor hockey. Minnesota has been vying for an outdoor game for the longest time and finally our turn had come up with the event being held at TCF Bank Stadium, home of Gopher football and temporarily, Viking football until they move to US Bank Stadium later this year. My weekend of the festivities started on Friday, for the media skate which was amazing. Members of the media were invited to skate on the ice for an hour, giving us a chance to see what the views were going to be like for the players. It was a great way to spend a Friday afternoon. After that I headed downtown to The News Room for the Media Reception. Shout out to Gina and Catie from the NHL, you two are hilarious. The NHL treated us very well the whole weekend, the media reception was smaller in attendance than I thought it would be but the food was great, the beers were free, and I got to meet some new people so it was a ton of fun.
Saturday was the alumni game and to me this was the most exciting part of the weekend. Normally it'd be the other way around but considering the history of NHL hockey in this state, the alumni game was something else. Alumni consisting of mostly North Stars players and some Wild players took the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks, bringing with it something that felt like closure to all the fans that saw their beloved North Stars leave them in 1993 for Dallas (thanks a lot, Norm). Say what you will about who's alumni belongs to which franchise, I don't care. The game is purely for the fans and that's all that matters.
For me, it was like going in a time machine and seeing all the players of the past come to life again. Modano, Chelios, Broten, Savard, Ciccarelli, Roenick, O'Callahan, and Christian are a handful of the names that played in this game. It was incredible, the game and the event are so modern but watching the players is like watching a really clean, clear video of the past and I got to document it. I don't think I'm ever going to have that kind of opportunity again and the weight of that is really hitting me. I got to see living legends skate again.
Sunday was the actual Stadium Series game, which the Wild trounced the Blackhawks 6-1. I had a glass position but I wanted to shoot the opening from up top, so my friend Brad (USA Today photog) and I tried to find our way up to the upper bowl, but when we found out the main elevator was being shut down, we were left scrambling to find our way to the top. After walking frantically back and forth, skipping steps to get up stairs faster and literally running with all of our gear in our hands, we both were finally able to make it up before the national anthem along with the accompanying flyover started. As for the game, this was not an easy game for me to shoot and is probably some of my worst material, because I was trying to shoot through the glass since I didn't have a photo hole. The only thing I could really do was shoot action if it was directly in front of me, otherwise the diffraction was too much and everything would end up soft or completely out of focus, but I tried my best.
There we go, that's it from me. Not so hard, I need to do a better job of this and update this more often. I have the weekend off and then it's back to it with the Avalanche in town and the Badgers the day after for basketball. See you then!
Canon 1D Mark IV
45 f/2.8 T/S