Those closest to me know that I am a self-described rabid NFL fan. I LOVE football and consider myself very knowledgeable on the rules of the game. Once the Super Bowl is over, I suffer from withdrawal and find myself longing for the pre-season. My husband and I share the same passion for football and often don’t know what to do with ourselves on those post-Super Bowl Sundays. All of that changed a few years ago when our nephew, a former high school hockey player, encouraged us to watch NHL hockey with him.
First we followed the Boston Bruins because my nephew and the rest of my husband’s family are from areas just outside of Boston. Living in Tampa though, how could we not watch the Tampa Bay Lightning? I watched them win their first Stanley Cup Championship in 2004. It was an exciting time for our city as their win came a year after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their first Super Bowl Championship. We watched the Bruins win and lose the Stanley Cup (2 goals scored by their opponent in just 19 seconds), the latter of which was quite the stunner. Regardless though, exciting is what hockey is in my opinion. The pace of an entire hockey game very much resembles the urgency of a 2-minute warning drill, to put it in football terms. The edge of the couch excitement I felt watching hockey filled that post Super Bowl void especially since during that time, the regular season is normally winding down with playoffs on the not too distant horizon. The end of the regular season and the playoffs is a pretty good time to start watching a new sport. It’s “do or die” time for teams and players vying for glory, trophies, rings, championship titles and of course, bragging rights. How can you not get swept up in the drama and excitement?
When one of my corporate clients, BlueGrace Logistics – an official sponsor of the Tampa Bay Lightning, approached me to shoot one of their events at Amalie Arena, I was thrilled! The event, “Slap Shots On Ice”, was a fun part of a multi-day company conference with employees from all over the United States. I would be shooting employees taking slap shots on the very same ice on which some of my favorite NHL athletes play! Taking the elevator down, walking through the players’ tunnel, sitting on the home team bench to slip on the special rubber soled spikes enabling me to walk effortlessly on the ice was surreal. Every now and again during my shoot, I would glance up at the stands, the score boards and ribbons illuminated with the newly unveiled BlueGrace logo, and would try to absorb and remember where I was. It’s still so surreal, I can’t believe I was actually there. But I guess I was, because here are some favorite shots of BlueGrace employees from the ice.