The Ice Vegas Invitational was the first college ice hockey tournament in Las Vegas at the new T-Mobile Arena. The event was put on by BD Global, who produces some fantastic college basketball events in Vegas. I hope this becomes an annual event because it was a lot of fun.
NHL games are great of course, but this tournament was so much fun to see these different teams in a more relaxed atmosphere where you can get up close to the glass and feel the action (of course, I am always close to the glass as a photographer, but it was fun to see everyone else getting to experience it).
For the launch of the Ice Vegas Invitational, I was impressed with the caliber of teams BD Global was able to secure. The four teams included perennial power Boston College, which has five NCAA titles and a record 25 Frozen Four appearances. The three remaining teams were Michigan Tech, Arizona State and Northern Michigan.
The first game I shot was Boston College versus Michigan Tech. It was an exciting game with lots of great action. I had fun photographing all the action. The media presence was not too heavy so I had my choice from a few different places to shoot, which is incredible because there are only eight places to shoot a hockey game.
The eight spots consist of two of these little holes on each rounded corner of the arena. It is incredibly difficult to shoot through these tiny holes. It is impossible to angle the camera to see the whole arena and some shots you just have to give up because you cannot get the angle without sticking the entire camera through the whole. I, of course, excitedly did this a couple times without thinking. Can you imagine a photographer dropping his camera on the ice during a hockey game. I promise I won’t do this, please don’t take away my press credentials!
I especially had fun trying to shoot more unusual compositions. In this image above, I wanted to show the action that goes on away from the puck, but still have the puck in the frame. In this image, I was happy with the composition as it shows the puck flying away from the action, but all the players have to fight to even get position before they can chase after it.
The end result shocked many of the fans as Michigan Tech pulled the upset, defeating the favorite Boston College. It was the talk of the stadium well into the next game. This is what is so fun about tournaments. It was not just an upset, it paved the way for Michigan Tech to play in the championship game and created a whole different tournament than what everyone expected.