The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Posts tagged “Red Deer Rebels

Best of Part One: The Top Photos So Far…

It seems like just yesterday since we were back here on Bird Watching, now doesn’t it?  Anyways, I promised you a post containing my best (and favorite) photos from the season so far, so let’s get going!

17) For the first shot of the day (and seventeenth best shot so far) we’ll go all the way back to October 26 for a game against Tri-City and a shot of center Colin Jacobs on the bench during a shootout.  I think this shot is typical of many photos of Jacobs I’ve taken; in most of them there’s either a big smile or intense expression on Jacobs’ face.  That really adds to the emotion of the photograph and helps our understanding of what’s going on in it.

Center Colin Jacobs is all smiles after left wing Marcel Noebels (background) converts his shootout attempt against the Americans.  Despite the successful conversion, the T-Birds fell in the shootout, 2-1.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

16) Let’s stay in that same game against the Americans for shot number 16.  In the first 33 games of the season, the T-Birds had three of their four home games against Tri-City, and each one was a hard-hitting matchup worthy of the rivalry.  There were many notable hits between the two teams, and one of the better photos I’ve got of them happens to be this one, where two Thunderbirds combine to make an American sandwich…

Right wing Jacob Doty (left) and center Connor Sanvido (right) sandwich Tri-City defenseman left wing Marcus Messier in the first period of an Oct. 26 game against Tri-City.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

15) With number 15, I decided to go with a shot from the KING 5 taping that occurred October 12 at ShoWare Center.  KING 5 sent reporter Christie Johnson down to learn more about hockey and the Thunderbirds.  The clips that were filmed went out live during the morning news broadcast, and the four players there (Luke Lockhart, Brenden Dillon, Burke Gallimore, and Michael Salmon) had to arrive early in order to meet with the KING 5 crew.  I snapped this gem during a break in shooting…

Center Luke Lockhart (right) and right wing Burke Gallimore (top) rest on the ice during a break between takes.

Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/3.5, 1/800th, Manual

It’s not the best technical photo from the shoot, but I do find it quite humorous and there’s something charming about it so I decided to use it over the other photos from the tv shoot.

14)  After each win, the team would always skate out to the goalie (normally Calvin Pickard, but Michael Salmon has taken over between the pipes on occasion) and celebrate the win.  They did this a bit over the first half, as the T-Birds have accumulated 15 wins so far this year.  Normally these shots aren’t that exciting as everyone is facing inwards, but I got lucky with this one when Jacob Doty looked backwards (with his helmet off! What luck!) during the celebration.

Jacob Doty joins the rest of the Thunderbirds in celebration of their Nov. 19 victory over the Spokane Chiefs.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

13)  I’m always looking for new angles to shoot from.  Seeing something from a different vantage point can make the most typical of things seem new or exciting.  I was allowed to shoot the Red Deer game on Nov. 2 from the catwalks above the ice.  I was up there for the pregame events, including the introduction of the Thunderbirds starters.

The Thunderbirds starters are introduced before the Nov. 2 game against Red Deer.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/320th, Manual

12)  What would a look back on the Thunderbirds’ season be without talking about Calvin Pickard?  He’s been the T-Birds’ brick wall in goal for most of the season, saving an astounding 1169 shots so far.  His save percentage of .927 is good for second in the WHL, just a thousandth behind Darcy Kuemper of Red Deer.  Needless to say, Pickard’s been a major part of the team, and I had to include a photo of him in this countdown.  Here’s one of his 1169 saves, this one against Red Deer.

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a stick save on a shot from the Red Deer Rebels on Nov. 2.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

11)  As I’ve said before, I didn’t follow hockey before I started shooting for the Thunderbirds.  All I really knew about the game was that it was really fast and players were allowed to fight (with a five minute penalty, though).  Being one of the bigger teams in the league, the T-Birds have really thrown their weight around for the first part of the season, making sure to hit the opposing team and even fighting them if need be.   One of the bigger fighters on the team is Jacob Doty, who is frequently making sure the opposing team leaves the game black and blue.

Jacob Doty lands a punch on Prince George center Greg Fraser during a game Oct. 29.

Canon 7D, 185mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

10)  Once December rolled around, it was time to plan for the T-Bird’s Christmas Card.  It was up to me to shoot the photo that would be on the card, something I’ve never done before.  After scouting out the location and perfecting my exposure for the surroundings, the players arrived and we got down to business.  I’ll tell you right now this photo isn’t the best team photo ever taken, but I’m quite proud of it and the way it looked on the card, so I decided to put it on this list.

Happy Holidays from the Seattle Thunderbirds!

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1000 ISO, f/10, 1/25th, Manual

9)  I’m always looking for non-action photos to shoot.   Not only does it give me something to focus on while the game’s not being played, but it showcases particular events that might not have been seen by everyone.  One of my favorite detail shots from the half-year is this photo taken during a particularly chippy game against Medicine Hat.

Jacob Doty leans over and tries to intimidate the Medicine Hat player across from him before a faceoff at center ice during a Nov. 30 game.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

8)  It’s not common to see a goalie get checked hard on a play, but it does happen on occasion.  When it does, it can make a cool photo to see the two players all sprawled out.  That happened in the Medicine Hat game; an action I thought was sure to lead to an all-out brawl between the teams.  It didn’t but it did lead to a cool photo…

Calvin Pickard is run into by Medicine Hat center Wacey Hamilton during a Nov. 30 game.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

7)  One thing I have noticed through the first 33 games is that the Thunderbirds fans are pretty good at making noise.  When I went over to Kennewick for the Tri-City away game on Dec. 10, I was surprised at how quiet those fans were during part of the game.   To commemorate them, I’m always looking for photos of T-Birds fans to put in the blog.  Normally I have a requirement that they need to be in T-Birds gear, but I waived that Dec. 14 when the group in Calvin’s Corner kept yelling at Spokane goalie James Reid whenever he ventured to that side of the ice.

Fans in Calvin’s Corner try to get Spokane goalie James Reid to lose focus during a Dec. 14 game.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

6)  This fan, however, showed his T-Birds colors well during the Medicine Hat game.  The more I look at this photo, the more I like it.  Not only is it taken at a cool angle (from the catwalks), but the look on his face—particularly that smirk—adds some nice emotion to it.  He looks proud to display that Thunderbirds scarf, and in turn I’m proud to call this photo one of the six best shots I took during the first half.

A fan displays a Thunderbirds scarf during a timeout in a Nov. 30 game against Medicine Hat.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400th, Manual

5)  Here’s my favorite photo of Calvin Pickard I’ve taken so far.  This might be ranked higher on this list—and would definitely be the best shot of a Calvin Pickard save—if this was in fact a save; this is actually a shot of a Tri-City goal.  I took this early enough in the play, however, for it to look like a decent photo Pickard doing well.  No matter what the result of the play, however, it’s a nice looking photo and nice enough to be number five.

Tri-City center Mason Wilgosh sneaks a shot past goalie Calvin Pickard during an Oct. 26 game.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

4)  You may have noticed that so far all of the action photos on the list were either taken from above (the photos with a background that consists of ice) or from the box in between the benches (where the background is the goal or the boards around the rink).  Well, coming in at number four is my first action shot taken from behind the glass at one end of the rink (#7—the photo of the group in Calvin’s Corner—was taken from the side, but I don’t consider that an action photo).  It was taken fairly recently, at the game where I finally realized how to shoot from behind the glass ((Home) Game 12: Thunderbirds Unlucky Against Americans).  You’ll also notice that three of the top four photos were taken in December, further suggestion I’ve finally realized how to shoot hockey.  It took long enough, now didn’t it… 😛 Anyway, here’s number four!

Left wing Marcel Noebels evades an attempt to dislodge the puck by from Tri-City center Brooks Macek during a Dec. 11 game.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

3)  When I saw number three happen I immediately became excited.  I immediately knew I had this really cool play when it happened; once the puck was cleared from the Seattle end and there wasn’t a danger of missing a play, I chimped the photo (photographer jargon for looking at the LCD screen) to see if I really had got it.  A wide smile crept along my face once I had; I think that was the most excited I’ve ever been over a photograph.  It really is a cool photograph, and important, too.  Check out this goal-saving grab Dave Sutter made on the puck.

Defenseman Dave Sutter saves a goal by grabbing the puck out of the air just before it crosses the red line during a game against Medicine Hat Nov. 30.

Canon 7D, 90mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

2)  I remember telling you I had a portfolio-worthy shot during the blog post I first shared number two with you.   It is also one of the few head-on offensive shots I’ve taken this year since I haven’t found much success shooting through glass yes.  I’m really happy with the way this shot turned out, although I do wish the shot featured in the photo was just as successful. 

Left wing Chance Lund takes a shot on the Tri-City goal during a Dec. 11 game.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

1)  And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for and the best shot I’ve taken so far this year…  As I said before, three of the top four photos were taken in December, and we can expand that out to a whopping eight of the top ten.  That means throughout the year I’ve really improved my hockey shooting, so it’s only natural to guess my top photo is from December, right?   Well it’s not from December.  Or November.  Or even October for that matter.  That’s right, the single best photo I’ve taken came from the one home game in September and the first regular season hockey game I’ve ever shot.  Crazy, right?  I’ll let you see the photo before I talk about why I picked this as number one…

Colin Jacobs celebrates a goal in front of the Portland bench during the home opener against the Winterhawks Sept. 25.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

This photo shows just about everything you need to know about that opening night game: that the Thunderbirds were fired up and playing well enough to celebrate (visible in Jacobs’ face) and it shows some dejection in the Winterhawks’ player behind Jacobs.  Furthermore, the spotlight on Jacobs makes him jump out at the viewer and the stick and shoulder in the foreground give a nice frame to Jacobs to really draw your eye to him.  That is why I’m calling this the best photo I’ve taken this season, and a photo I’m proudly displaying in my portfolio.

Well there you have it: the top 17 photos of the Thunderbirds’ season so far!  What plays will there be for me to capture during the second half?  Find out tonight when the Thunderbirds take on the Spokane Chiefs at 7:05 at the ShoWare Center!  I’ll be there, will you?

Do you agree with my selections? Did I miss something that deserves to be in this post?  Let me know in the comments section below while you wait for 7:05 to come!

‘Til tonight, go T-Birds!

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Calvin Pickard: The Energizer Bunny in Pads

Monday night, 10:44 pm:  I’m writing this blog post in the dark, seeing as the wind storm that’s rolling through the area finally won its battle with the local power lines and my house lost power.  Not much from my preferred working environment has changed though; sure it’s a tad dark, but I can still type this up on my laptop, listen to music on my ipod (right know it’s Human by the Killers, in case you’re wondering), and still text friends and family on my cell phone.  It’s nice to know that even though I depend on electricity for so much, I can live without it (in short doses, though;  I’m SOL when my batteries run out).  Batteries are the fail-safe of today’s society, and they really should be appreciated more; they help keep everything running when the power goes out, and they have saved untold hardship and lives just because they’re a great fail-safe.

By now you’re probably thinking “this is a photoblog about a hockey team, why are you writing about batteries, Kyle?”  If so I don’t blame you, but trust me I’m heading somewhere with this…

Batteries are a lot like a goalie in hockey.  More specifically, batteries are like a reliable goalie in hockey, one who can be depended to immediately and effectively defend the net if something gets behind the defense, much like how batteries are called upon once the electricity stops flowing.  Since batteries have a near 100% effectiveness, this goalie has to be nearly perfect, saving 93 percent of the shots that come at him.  Hmm, a dependable, reliable goalie that saves nearly every shot taken on him? Why, that sounds a lot like our own Calvin Pickard, doesn’t it?

Say hi to the readers, Calvin!

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

As you may have just now guessed, this post is dedicated to our fearless netminder, the man who never met a shot he really liked and never met a puck he couldn’t stop. He backs up the Thunderbirds defensive line and is probably the best goalie in the WHL right now.  In fact, for the next two days he’ll represent the WHL in the Subway Super Series, two games that pits a team of WHL stars against a team of Russian junior stars. Since the Thunderbirds have a few well-earned days off after their eastern road trip (in which they did quite well, taking 8 of a possible 12 points) and Pickard is playing in the series, it seems like a great time to have a post saluting our never-stopping netminder. Here are 15 photos of Pickard doing what he does best: backing up the T-Birds and looking good while doing it…

Pickard stops a shot from a diving Lethbridge left winger Jacob Berglund during a game Oct. 1 against the Hurricanes.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard goes down to stop Lethbridge center Cam Braes.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Picarkd attempts to block a shoot-out attempt by Tri-City right winger Jacob Holland on  Oct.  26.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard watches as defenseman Brenden Dillon steals the puck from Prince George center Nick Bounassisi Oct. 29.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard re-directs a shot towards teammate and T-Birds center Luke Lockhart.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard tracks the puck while center Colin Jacobs (left) and PG center Charles Inglis fight for it during the Oct. 29 game against the Cougars.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard prevents Red Deer left winger John Perrson from redirecting the puck into the Seattle goal Nov. 2.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard stretches out to make a save against Red Deer.

Canon 7D, 85mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Pickard makes yet another stop against Red Deer.

Canon 7D, 75mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

See the previous cutline.  Just know that he made 46 saves that night.

Canon 7D, 73mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Pickard makes another sprawling save against the Rebels on Nov. 2.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

Pickard passes the puck to defenseman Dave Sutter during the third period of the game against the Rebels.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Pickard, Sutter (left) and Red Deer right winger Daulton Siwak (top right_ all have a nice view of the puck before Pickard falls on it for another save).

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

And let’s end this post the best way I know how: with a picture of Calvin celebrating a win!

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Hopefully you enjoyed this look at Calvin Pickard, and be sure to tune in to the Subway Super Series against the top Russian junior players.

Til next time, go T-Birds (and WHL)!

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Game 6: Thunderbirds Topple Rebels

Hello again everyone.   Sorry for the long delay in getting last Tuesday’s game thread up but not only have I been busy, I also have to make sure I have enough content to get through the two and a half week eastern swing the Thunderbirds are now on.

Last Tuesday’s game against the Red Deer Rebels was a fun one for everyone: the players seemed to really enjoy themselves in the win, the fans had plenty of goals to cheer for, and I got to shoot from what’s always a cool angle: the catwalks above the ice.  I’ll have a post dedicated to my experiences from above later on in the road trip, but I will say this: the catwalks above the ShoWare ice are cool places to watch a hockey game.

I decided to move around a lot during my time on the catwalks to make sure I had different types of images.  I started off at center ice (along the side though; there’s no ramp to the scoreboard directly over center ice) and got a nice looking photo right after the opening faceoff…

Center Luke Lockhart gets knocked down shortly after the opening faceoff by Red Deer leftwinger Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Center Luke Lockhart gets knocked down shortly after the opening faceoff by Red Deer left wing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

After a few minutes, I decided to move down over the Seattle goal (the goal in the north end of the stadium is the only one with a catwalk over it) since the Thunderbirds had played nearly exclusively defense up to that point.  I also wanted to get some cool overhead shots of a Pickard save or two (or 18 in the first period alone).  And get cool overhead shots of a save I did.  See them for yourself…

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save in the first period.

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save in the first period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save in the first period.

Canon 7D, 73mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Next I’ll talk about the shortfalls of shooting above the goal: the scoreboard blocks the opposite third of the ice.   And, just as you can imagine, the only fight in the first period happened in the T-Birds attacking third of the ice, weaving in and out of my sightlines.  After “shooting” the fight from the jumbotron, the fighters, left wing  Mitch Elliot and Red Deer defenseman Colin Archer, came into my view.  I tried to get a frame that contained both the fighters and the jumbotron screen.  I’m not real happy with it since Elliot’s head is cut off on the jumbotron, but it’s still a cool enough photo…

Leftwinger Mitch Elliot (left) and Red Deer defenseman Colin Archer fight during the first period.

Left wing Mitch Elliot (left) and Red Deer defenseman Colin Archer fight during the first period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Both Elliot and Archer were given five minute major-fighting penalties and since there were less than five minutes left in the period, Elliot was sent off the ice (I assume Archer was too, but did not witness him leave).  Here’s a photo of him heading down the tunnel towards the locker rooms.

Elliot leaves the ice after receiving a five minute penalty for major fighting with just two minutes left in the first period.

Elliot leaves the ice after receiving a five minute penalty for major fighting with just two minutes left in the first period.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/200th, Manual

Meanwhile, while the penalty situation was being discussed among the officials, Pickard was just hanging out waiting for the game to restart…

Pickard waits for the game to restart after the fight between Elliot and Archer.

Pickard waits for the game to restart after the fight between Elliot and Archer.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Maybe to make up for the fight being out of my sight, there were a few hard checks right behind Seattle’s net and right in my view.  Luckily I got a few of them on film (well, digital, but close enough).  Here’s one…

Seattle leftwinger Chance Lund checks Red Deer center Byron Froese behind the Seattle goal in the first period.

Seattle left wing Chance Lund checks Red Deer center Byron Froese behind the Seattle goal in the first period.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For the second period, the teams switched sides like normal.  Not being able to be over Pickard’s goal, though, didn’t mean I couldn’t get a good frame of him.  I got this from somewhere over the Thunderbirds’ bench…

Pickard makes a save in the opening minutes of the second period.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

Right wing Burke Gallimore broke the scoreless deadlock in the second period.  After receiving a pass from Marcel Noebels, Gallimore blew a slapshot past Red Deer goalie Bolton Pouliot.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

And after the goal, Gallimore skated over to the T-Birds bench to get a high-five from his teammates.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

Later on in the period, center Colin Jacobs found himself with the puck in front of the Rebel goal.  He put a nifty backhand on it…

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And Pouliot couldn’t stop it from getting over the red line and onto the net.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The players were celebrating with Jacobs right under me.  That gave me a cool frame of the celebration from an angle you don’t normally see.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

By this time, I was pretty happy with my foray onto the catwalks above the ice, but there was still something I was missing: a cool check right under me.  Thankfully center Travis Toomey gave me a string of check shots shortly before the end of the period and the end of my time up above.

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For the third period, I went back to my normal last period spot in between the benches.  My good photo luck must have followed me downstairs as I got a sweet shot of the faceoff to open the period…

Center Luke Lockhart and Red Deer’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins try to win the opening faceoff in the third period.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Was a break in play shortly after the period began, and the players returned to their respective benches.  While the T-Birds were back on the bench strategizing, I was trying to get a shot of the coaches interacting with the players.  Unfortunately, though, I had too much lens and ended up with a close-up of assistant coach Turner Stevenson gesturing.  It turned out to be a nice shot, though, so I’ll share it with you all.

Assistant coach Turner Stevenson discusses tactics with the Thunderbirds players during a break in third period action.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Later in the period, Gallimore had a breakaway with just one Red Deer defender in front of him.  He earned some space and took a shot that made its way past Pouliot again for the third T-Birds goal of the night.  He went into the corner to celebrate not only with his teammates, but with the fans too…

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Red Deer tried their best to make a game of it again, but they could only get one past Pickard, and that was on a 4 v. 3 power play for the Rebels.  Pickard continued his brilliance with save after save, including this one.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

In the end, time ran out on any Red Deer comeback and the Thunderbirds earned their third home win and two points.  Time to celebrate, right Calvin?

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

And that’s it for this game thread.  Check back periodically during the Eastern swing for a new post.  If there’s anything you’d like to see or know in the next two weeks, feel free to ask in the comments section below.  I’d also love to hear what you thought about this post, so leave those comments there too!

I think I’ll end this post with something new I’ll try: a slideshow of all these photos used!  Enjoy seeing them again!

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Til next time, go T-Birds!