On the weekend of February 12-13, 2022, I was finally able to see my oldest play a meaningful game of hockey. As I mentioned in my previously most-recent gallery introduction, the D1 Capo Coyotes lost their Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League playoff game on February 19, 2020. At the time, the team was a little more than a month away from participating in the USA Hockey National Championships.
I did not know then that the ADHSHL playoff loss would be my older son’s last high school game. He and I (and even my younger son) have gotten in some beer-league games in the time since the pandemic interrupted his playing career.
All that said, I never expected that it would be two years between meaningful games. For several months, he’s been telling me: “Dad, the boys want some pictures.”
The Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League championship games were played on Saturday, February 22, 2020 (the 40th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” Olympics game, by the way), at Great Park Ice. I attended and photographed the D3 game in hopes that the Capistrano Coyotes would prevail after our D1 team was eliminated on Wednesday. It was not to be, as Servite took that contest, 2-0.
Shooting the D1 championship presented a bit of an emotional challenge. After winning back-to-back D2 championships and being elevated to D1 this season, Capo fell short of making the final. It was tough seeing my oldest on his knees after the game and the disappointment remains highly present.
That said, he was at a crossroads in his hockey pursuit when he joined the San Diego Jr. Gulls back in his Bantam years. The boys and the families were (and still are) amazing. They welcomed us warmly and they invited JP to stay over quite a bit to help ease the travel up and down the 5 Freeway. Four of those boys are members of the Pacific Ridge Firebirds. So I stayed to photograph their pursuit of a championship (we beat them last year in the D2 final). I was thrilled for their opportunity to celebrate a championship. The header image here shows two of his closest teammates from the Gulls.
FivePoint Arena is very photographer friendly, and I love shooting in there. The sight lines are as good as they get in minor hockey, so I feel like I get nice clean shots.
My images below, however, are not super clean. These are essentially dumped from the storage media so that everyone involved — players, families, the teams, and the league — can enjoy them as soon as possible. As always, I am happy to clean them up for anyone who wants an image to print.