Hockey night in Washington

March 16, 2011

Hockey and politics? A strange combination.

As a Canadian growing up in a small rural town, street hockey was a big part of my youth. So when the White House announced an event billed as a street hockey game on the South Lawn of the White House as part of first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, a lot of great memories came flooding back. Stoppages in play for oncoming cars and playing under street lights until all hours of the night were a way of life.

We do a lot of remotes at the White House and with a ceremony being held for the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Black Hawks in the shadow of one of the world’s most recognizable buildings, I was trying to come up with an interesting way to capture the event.

I made a trip to the local department store to pick up a small plastic container to package up a Canon 5D Mark II, 15mm fisheye lens and a pocketwizard transmitter. They would only be using a plastic hockey ball, so I wouldn’t need a professional plexiglass version that we use at NHL hockey games.

The case for the remote camera.  REUTERS/Jim Young

I made a little modification to the container in my garage the night before to keep everything wrapped up, to keep all the cables out of the way and protect anyone who might bump into the camera.

My equipment for the shoot.  REUTERS/Jim Young

I set the camera up during President Obama’s tribute to the Black Hawks. The nets were stationed off to one side of the driveway, so while I waited for the street hockey game to begin I would use a magic arm and superclamp to mount a camera into one of the nets. The problem was that I would not know where the nets would be positioned or how the game would transpire. I was trying to incorporate the South Portico of the White House, the players, and hopefully the first couple. I just clamped it in and framed the photo with the net and hoped for the best-case scenario.

After the Stanley Cup ceremony, I only had enough time to crawl into the net to test the camera.

Testing the camera.  REUTERS/Jim Young

In the end, neither the President nor the first lady took part in the game or came anywhere near the hockey net, but it certainly was interesting setting it up and having some fun.

Children play street hockey  during a workout on the South Lawn at the White House as part of the "Let's Move! initiative in Washington, March 11, 2011.      REUTERS/Jim Young

John Scott, a member of the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Black Hawks, takes a shot on a goalie during street hockey workout on the South Lawn at the White House as part of the "Let's Move! initiative in Washington, March 11, 2011.      REUTERS/Jim Young

Maybe next year I will get a chance to play.

Photographer Jim Young poses in front of his remote camera.  REUTERS/Jim Young

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Its not a real hockey game without a netcam! Kudos Jim, the Maple Leaf still flies at the White House.

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