The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Posts tagged “Teddy Bear Toss

T-Birds Fall to Portland in Teddy Bear Toss Game

Well now, isn’t this a pleasant surprise? Another edition of Bird Watching! I do have to apologize for the long breaks in between this post and my last one; my quarter is very busy with three classes and a lot of work at Seattle University. But I have the time now, and I’ve got the photos from an always-special game: the annual Teddy Bear Toss game!

Every year, many (if not all) WHL teams hold a Teddy Bear Toss game where fans bring teddy bears to donate to charity—the Thunderbirds give the bears to the WARM 106.9 Teddy Bear Patrol which gives them to local firefighters and other emergency responders to give to children in times of crisis. The best part about the Teddy Bear Toss, though, is seeing all the bears thrown onto the ice after the first T-Birds goal. But before we see the bears thrown to the ice, the players must be introduced…

The Thunderbirds’ starting lineup is introduced to a capacity crowd at the ShoWare Center Jan. 28.

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 40mm, f/2.8, 1/640

A couple of stuffed animals have great seats for the beginning of the game. They didn’t even get to watch a full period, however, as Connor Honey opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds with seven minutes left in the period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/800

Before that, though, the Thunderbirds had a couple of other decent shots on goal…

Defenseman Dave Sutter takes a shot on the Portland goal early in the first period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 73mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Center Connor Sanvido watches as Portland goalie Mac Carruth saves his shot in the first period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 90mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

As said before, Connor Honey put the Thunderbirds on the scoreboard with his first goal as a Thunderbird. Just as the celebration started on the ice, the teddy bears went flying…

Fans toss their stuffed animals onto the ice after Connor Honey’s first

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 53mm, f/2.8, 1/800

Here’s a cool shot I got while the stuffed animals were being thrown on the ice. I like this photo a lot because while you can still see the fans, including a couple bears that hadn’t been thrown over the boards yet, you can also see the ice starting to get littered with animals in the reflection off the glass. It all made for a nice shot.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 30mm, f/2.8, 1/800


Being a Seattle/Portland rivalry game, the match was littered with hard hits and checks into the board. Here are a couple photos of those hits including part of a Luke Lockhart string…

Center Justin Hickman is about to slam Portland defenseman William Wrenn into the boards in the Portland zone during the second half.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 28mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Center Luke Lockhart jostles for position with Portland defenseman Troy Rutkowski.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 28mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

The jostling turned into a good ole-fashioned check later on…

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 28mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Unfortunately I wasn’t in position to get Honey’s first WHL goal, but I did have a nice viewpoint on what could have been his second…

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 40mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 32mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Portland’s William Wrenn blocks a shot late in the second, resulting in a loose puck in front of the Portland net.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

And we’ll move to the third period, where I took my normal spot of between the benches. Although I missed left winger Chance Lund’s goal, I did get a good shot of him celebrating with Hickman…

Chance Lund and Justin Hickman celebrate Lund’s goal in the third period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 155mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

For that weekend of games, center Justin Hickman wore a wireless microphone for Q13 Sports. I wanted a photo that showed the mic and ended up with this beauty. Unfortunately, I cannot tell where it is on him. Can you spot the microphone?

Justin Hickman returns to the bench after a shift during the third period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 135mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Here’s newly-acquired right winger Dillon Wagner escaping from being pinned into the boards by Portland defenseman Derrick Pouliot. Wagner, a former Winterhawk, was claimed off waivers back in early January.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 195mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

During warm-ups before the game, I noticed something different about the Thunderbirds players: they weren’t wearing the typical dark blue helmet, they were sporting white lids for this game. I’m not sure when exactly the white helmet entered the Thunderbirds’ unifomr options, but it certainly does look pretty slick. Here’s a shot of the helmet on the bench, as modeled by right wing Seth Swenson.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Right winger Branden Troock tries to get at a rebound in front of Portland’s Marruth in the third period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 170mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

And for our last photo, let’s check out one final hit by Justin Hickman…

Hickman stands up Portland defenseman Joseph Morrow late in the game.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 135mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Unfortunately that’s it for photos for this post. Hopefully it won’t take me so long to post again, and I hope to see you all down at the ShoWare Center real soon!

‘Til next time, Go T-Birds!

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Game 22: T-Birds, Teddy Bears Fall against Portland

Teddy Bear Toss night had finally arrived!  After going over to Kennewick for Tri-City’s Toss, I was looking forward to our own night to throw bears on the ice for charity, and last Saturday happened to be that night.  The T-Birds’ opponent that night was the Portland Winterhawks, a team the Thunderbirds have found plenty of success against so far this season.  Would the T-Birds be able to vanquish their rivals from the south again?  Would the T-Birds fans donate a tremendous amount of bears to charity?  Would Kyle manage to not screw up the Teddy Bear Toss photos?  Find out in this edition of Bird Watching!

To begin the photos, let’s check out yet another shot of Colin Jacobs making a face while I’m trying to get a photo of him.  In my three years of sports shooting, there’s always been one person who can never give me a straight face while I’m shooting his or her sport.  At the UW, it was one of my friends from the gymnastics team who’d always give me a weird face, and this year it’s Jacobs.  While going through my photos after a game, I can always enjoy a nice chuckle whenever Jacobs pops up because he’ll always make a face.  See for yourself…

Center Colin Jacobs makes a pass while being shoved by Portland center Ryan Johansen during the first period.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

It being Teddy Bear Toss night, fans came to the game with stuffed animals in hand in hopes of a T-Birds goal and a chance to throw the furry toys onto the ice.  Until then, fans had to hold onto their donations and store them anywhere there was space.  Some fans, like this one, ended up sharing a chair with their bears.

A fan watches the action on the ice alongside two stuffed animals that will later be tossed onto the ice.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/125th, Manual

Before the T-Birds could score a goal and make it rain teddy bears, they had to make sure Portland didn’t get a goal of their own.  Goalie Calvin Pickard made sure the Winterhawks wouldn’t get the first score on this play…

Canon 7D, 148mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

It wasn’t just Portland controlling the puck for the first period; Seattle got 14 shots on Portland goalie Mac Carruth, including this one by right wing Burke Gallimore.

Canon 7D, 145mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Even Cool Bird had a bear to throw onto the ice for Teddy Bear Toss night…

Canon 7D, 145mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400th, Manual

Thanks to passes by Tyler Alos and Colin Jacobs, center Travis Toomey found himself with the puck in space in front of the Portland goal.  He coolly fired the puck past Carruth for a score and promptly celebrated the feat with center Tyler Alos (bottom).

Canon 7D, 180mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

And with that goal, the teddy bears began to fall from the stands and onto the ice!

Canon 7D, 70mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

While bears were seemingly falling from the sky, I took the time to run down to the ice level (and I mean run: I nearly ran over a few suite attendants in my mad dash) to get some on ice photos of the beary special activities.  Anyone up for a game of 5,000-bear pickup?

Thunderbirds staffers pile bears onto tarps for easier transportation off the ice.

Canon 7D, 48mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

The players even helped with the cleanup.  Here, defenseman Dave Sutter (foreground, right) and left wing Chance Lund (background, left) organize the bears into piles.

Canon 7D, 75mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Assistant Director of Operations Joey Ravotti tosses teddy bears onto a tarp in an effort to clear the ice of bears.

Canon 7D, 33mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Every sort of bear-collecting device imaginable was used to pick up the donated bears off the ice and transport them into the depths of the ShoWare Center for counting and packing.  Here, T-Birds staffers—and even Cool Bird himself—pack an SUV full of stuffed animals.

Cool Bird carries an armful (and also a beakful) of teddy bears to an on-ice transport car during the Teddy Bear Toss.

Not every bear tossed made it to the ice, unfortunately.  This furry friend got caught up in the protective netting above the glass at the south end of the rink.

A fan uses Marcel Noebel’s stick to attempt to dislodge a bear stuck in the netting above the ice at the ShoWare Center.

Canon 7D, 33mm, 2000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

A bit after play resumed, a ShoWare maintenance worker climbed the boards to free the stuck bear.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

And that does it for an exciting first period.  With the score tied at one, we’ll move onto the second period of action…

And let’s start out that action with a shot of Gallimore trying to get the lead back for the T-Birds with a shot on Carruth, which ended up being blocked.

Canon 7D, 40mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

As is true for all games against US division foes, this game featured plenty of hard hits that elicited groans from not only the players being hit, but from the fans as well.

Chance Lund knocks Portland right wing Ty Rattie to the ice after Rattie attempted to dislodge the puck from Lund’s possession in the second period.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Luke Lockhart wins a faceoff against Portland’s Johansen.

Canon 7D, 170mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

For this next photo I had a lot of trouble deciding what crop to use.  I could have cropped it so just Calvin and the Portland attacker were shown, but I ultimately decided that defenseman Erik Bonsor was just too important in the photo as he’s knocking the puck away from the Portland player and Calvin wasn’t involved in the play at all.  What do you think?  Should I have cut off the left side up to Rutkowski and just showed Calvin and him?  Let me know in the comments section below!

Defenseman Erik Bonsor knocks the puck away from Portland defenseman Troy Rutkowski, eliminating the chance of a shot on Seattle goalie Calvin Pickard on the play.

Canon 7D, 90mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

As usual, I didn’t get as many second period photos as first or third, so let’s just move on, shall we?

Center Brendan Rouse (center) and Portland right wing Ty Rattie compete for a puck while Seattle left wing Mitch Elliot watches on in the beginning of the third period.

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

In the third period, the T-Bird offense was firing on all cylinders, earning a whopping 22 shots on goal in the period, just one less than they had in the first two periods combined.  Here’s one of those shots, this one by center Tyler Alos.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

In fact, for long amounts of time Calvin Pickard was relegated to puck-chaser often times as Portland sent many clearances down the ice.  Here, he’s retrieving a clearance so the offense can generate more scoring opportunities faster.

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

Center Justin Hickman continued his physical play, checking Winterhawks into the boards often and without warning.  Here, he crushes his latest victim, Portland defenseman Joe Morrow, into the glass in the north end of the rink.

Canon 7D, 173mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Lockhart is brought to his knees while scrapping for the puck with Portland defensemen Rutdowski (left) and Morrow (right).

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

During a Seattle powerplay late in the game, Portland used their timeout to plan how to kill the penalty.  The Thunderbirds also used this time to strategize and earn a goal or two that would get them back into the game.

Head coach Rob Sumner talks with his players during a time out late in the third period.

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


During that power play the Thunderbirds did get a goal from Marcel Noebels to bring the score to 2-4.  Unfortunately my view of the actual goal was blocked, but I did get a celebration shot with Noebels (center), Toomey (left) and Lockhart (right).

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

Fans showed their support to Noebels and the rest of the team by standing and cheering on the T-Birds after the goal.  One fan even bore the flag of Germany, Noebels’ home during the offseason.

A fan waves a German flag in support of Marcel Noebels after Noebels scored a third period goal.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

And let’s end the game photos with a shot of Lockhart stealing the puck away from Portland left wing Nino Niederreiter…

Canon 7D, 90mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Alright, that’s it for this post.  I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!  And a note:  T-Birds fans tossed a whopping 5,031 bears onto the ice and collected for the WAMR 106.9 Teddy Bear Patrol!  That’s a great number, good job guys (and gals)! The bears will be given out to local fire and police departments to give to children in times of crisis, so thanks for helping with that great cause!
Have any questions for me?  Comments?  Suggestions?  Let me know in the comment section below!

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!

Tri-City Away: Road Trip, Anyone?

I hope everyone had a great Christmas (I know I did, I got a lens!), but now it’s time to prepare for the second half of the WHL season!  I hope to get you in the mood for more T-Birds hockey with two posts in two days; today I’m (finally) writing up a post about my road trip to Kennewick to watch (and shoot) the Thunderbirds take on the Tri-City Americans on December 10 tonight/today (again I’m working past midnight), and a recap of the first half of the season in photos featuring the best images I’ve collected so far this year.   Check back tomorrow for that best-of post, but for now continue reading about the

As with my post about the catwalks, I have a video for you guys to watch and hopefully to enjoy.  Also like my catwalks post, the video is quite short in relation to the drive over as I didn’t film enough content to make a longer one.  I need to remember that for next time (maybe that’s why I need an assistant…).  Anyways, how about we start the video in the most natural starting point I know, in the middle of the trip!

Alright, everyone awake from your slumber and check out some photos!  Unfortunately there’s not too many—I had a really bad game in Tri-City—but there were some blog-worthy shots I’d like to share with you.  But first, here’s a photo I took from that vantage point off I-82 and an explanation on why I only shoot sports…

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1000 ISO, f/22, 1/500th, Manual

Now let’s fast-forward about 90 miles and five hours for our next photo, which takes place in the first period of the game (note: yeah, I’m skipping a lot of time.  Next time I travel to a game, I’ll be sure to take more photos and video of the stadium).  That night, December 10th, was the night of the American’s Teddy Bear Toss, when fans throw teddy bears onto the ice after the home team’s first goal.  Being new to hockey, I had no clue what was going on when all of these teddy bears were flying onto the ice, so I asked the fan I was sitting next to for an explanation.  Luckily she filled me in on the situation and I decided the oddity was worthy of a photo.

Goalie Calvin Pickard (left) chats with defenseman Erik Bonsor (center-left) while teddy bears are being cleaned off the ice during the Americans’ Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 10.

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The game was delayed for ten minutes while the bears were picked up off the ice.  Overall, I think 3,000 or so teddy bears were thrown onto the ice (and later donated to charity).  Not a bad number, but I’m pretty sure we can surpass that for our own Teddy Bear Toss Jan. 29!  And since I won’t be able to use this joke then, I might as well say it one last time here: that game was the first hockey game I’ve ever seen that was delayed by bears.

You guys can stop groaning now.

Seriously, you can.

Any time now.

Ok, you might as well let it all out at once….

Now that we’re done with that, let’s move on with the photos.  From my vantage point in the stands, I had a nice view of the Tri-City goal and plays on it from the left side.  In this photo, left wing Mitch Elliot tries to get a better angle on Tri-City goalie Drew Owsley.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

From my vantage point, I also had a nice view of the Seattle goal.  Here, Pickard makes a nice stick-save of a Tri-City shot.

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

By now you’ve probably noticed that I have a lot of photos of certain players and less of others.  I’m always looking for more shots of the players I don’t have and managed to get one over in Kennewick.  Here, center Brendan Rouse battles for position to control the puck with Tri-City defenseman Drydn Dow.

Canon 7D, 170mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

And unfortunately here’s the last photo I have for you guys for this post (told you I had a really bad game).  Anyway, here’s defenseman Travis Bobbee (center) shielding the puck from Tri-City center Mason Wilgosh.

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

Sorry for the short post, but the video took a while to piece together (I’m still new and slow at working with videos).   Remember to check back tomorrow for the best photos from the first half of the season!

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!