Helmet Head

We have all seen the TV footage from Europe during a World Junior Championship where the photographers are hanging over the glass in the end-zone in the hopes that they can capture the decisive moment in the game. The thing that usually catches the attention of most people is that typically, the photographers have helmets on. A strange sight, no doubt, but it is quite commonplace during these events and is actually part of the safety protocol for areas of the rink where the photographers are not sheltered behind the protection of glass.

Having said that, quite often, here in Canada and abroad, many photographers enjoy the opportunity and access that the ‘suicide box’ (an exposed location between the player benches) presents for creating pictures. I particularly enjoy this position because of the ability to get close to the game and capture unique moments from a perspective most people just don’t see. Having said that, it is called the suicide box for a reason and although there is glass on 3 of the 4 sides, the position is open to the ice surface, which poses a safety risk. Given the recent attention paid to a rash of head related injuries in the game of hockey, the last thing we need is to add photographers to that list. Now, simply knowing of the inherent risks doesn’t change the fact that certain precautions can be taken to limit those risks. One of those is donning a hockey helmet for protection. Other than the fact that it looks a little odd, it really doesn’t pose too many other restraints to shooting pictures and it does offer my melon some protection against a rouge puck, stick or any other fast moving object that could exit the playing surface without warning and impair my ability to see, talk, walk chew food or simply live for that matter.

So, after little debate and the solicitation of a shiny new black helmet, I was prepared to get in on the action and capture all the action could at close range.

I am sure my brain thanks me.


Photos: Matthew Murnaghan/HHOF-IIHF Images

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