The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Steve Konowalchuck Introduced as Top T-Bird

Welcome back to Bird Watching, T-Birds’ fans!  It’s been nearly three months since the season ended and preseason camps are slowly creeping up on us.  One order of business had to occur before the players could hit the ice again: they needed someone to coach them.  Finally, after an exhaustive search, we know who’ll be the head Thunderbird this year: Steve Konowalchuk.


Everyone meet Coach Konowalchuck!

Canon 7D, 33mm, 2500 ISO, f/3.5, 1/125th, Manual

Konowalchuk comes to us from the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, where he was an assistant for two years and worked with player development for an additional one.  He also had much success as a player, playing in the NHL for 13 full seasons for both the Avalanche and the Washington Capitals.  This isn’t his first foray into the WHL, however, as he played his junior hockey down I-5 with the Portland Winterhawks.  Never fear about his priorities now, however, as he made sure to mention how he “can’t wait to beat the Winterhawks,” and surely worked his way into the hearts of T-Birds fans everywhere.

Before he was formally introduced as head coach, however, I was tasked with getting a portrait of him to send out with our press release.   To get the best photo possible, I had run of the locker room and the use of plenty of jerseys to use in the background…

Canon 7D, 28mm, 2500 ISO, f/5, 1/50th, Manual

I knew I wanted to incorporate the Seattle logo in the background, so I sat Coach Konowalchuk to the side of a jersey (a white one so his dark suit wouldn’t blend into the dark blue jersey) and snapped a few frames.  The photo on top and this one are the two I liked from that pose.

Canon 7D, 32mm, 2500 ISO, f/3.5, 1/125th, Manual

After a couple other poses that produced uninspiring results, I decided to pull out a ladder and use the floor logo as a background for Coach to stand out from.  At first I told him to smile and naturally cross his hands as I fired off a burst of photos.   This is what came out…

Canon 7D, 32mm, 2500 ISO, f/3.5, 1/125th, Manual

Not bad, huh?  It does stand out—you don’t normally see portraits of people taken from above.  The combination of the logo and solid-colored floor provide a great background that allows him to pop out off.  I was happy with that, but I knew the photo could be better by seeing more of the logo and seeing more of the gritty style Kolowalchuk was known for in his playing days.  I told him to cross his arms, look serious, and fired away again…

Canon 7D, 33mm, 2500 ISO, f/3.5, 1/125th, Manual

Much better; his arms are crossed, which move his hands up and allows me to cut out a lot of dead space under the logo and his facial expression seems a bit more natural.   After this beauty came out, we tried one more pose and I let him go back to touring the ShoWare Center and talking with General Manager Russ Farwell.

After a couple hours’ wait, it’s time to head up to the club lounge and hold the press conference that announces Konowalchuk as the head coach.  Russ had the honor in introducing him to the gathering of media and fans waiting for official word on who’d next lead the T-Birds.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 2500 ISO, f/3.5, 1/400th, Manual

Steve prepared a statement explaining his passion for working with young players and developing their skills in preparation for future greatness.

Canon 7D, 165mm, 2500 ISO, f/3.5, 1/400th, Manual

After his statement, it was time for Konowalchuk to meet with various media outlets and the fans in attendance.  Here he answers questions on tape for KCPQ 13…

Canon 7D, 45mm, 2500 ISO, f/3.5, 1/80th, Manual

Here he is chatting with a print reporter…

Canon 7D, 108mm, 2500 ISO, f/2.8, 1/160th, Manual

T-Birds announcer Thom Beuning had a long interview with him for

Canon 7D, 135mm, 2500 ISO, f/5, 1/250th, Manual

And Konowalchuk had an on-camera chat with KOMO 4 sports reporter Chris Miller.

Canon 7D, 40mm, 2500 ISO, f/5, 1/160th, Manual

It wasn’t just the local media Konowalchuk met with, however, he introduced himself to the fans in attendance as well.  This young T-Birds fan wanted a photo with the new coach and Steve graciously obliged…

Canon 7D, 28mm, 2500 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

And he chatted about the team with this group of Thunderbirds supporters at the end of the press conference.

Canon 7D, 33mm, 2500 ISO, f/5, 1/320th, Manual

Alright, that’s it for this version of Bird Watching.  Thanks for joining in and be sure to check back in two months once rookie and preseason camps start up.

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!

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