Tuesday, March 31, 2009

McFarlands celebrate 50th anniversary of World Championship

Fifty years ago a group of young men from Belleville travelled to Prague, Czechoslovakia to represent Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

Against stacked odds - including a two month stretch away from home, 20 exhibition games in about as many days and a roster of players that sportswriters in Canada called a bunch of has-beens - they won the tournament and retained Canada's claim as the top hockey playing nation in the world.

Just months after watching Canada's world junior squad win a fifth straight gold medal, it's fitting that the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame will honour the McFarlands on the occaision of the 50th anniversary of their championship win. Their play helped staked Canada's claim as the hockey superpower.

This Saturday, the team will be honoured at the Empire Theatre in Belleville with the official premiere of a new video documentary by Picton native Peter Lockyear and the launch of a book that I wrote about the McFarlands Allan Cup win in 1958 and their World Championship victory in 1959.

If you are a hockey fan or just proud to say that you are from Belleville, hopefully you will come out and show your support of their accomplishments.

Tickets and information are available online at http://www.bellevillemcfarlands.ca/. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The next wave of great players are at the OHL Cup

I’ve been shooting at the OHL Cup tournament this week at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.

If you’ve never heard of it, the OHL Cup is the championship tournament for minor midget hockey players (15 year olds that are eligible for the OHL draft in May) and it’s usually a sneak peek at the next players that will be making headlines in the OHL and then the NHL.

Every year, there is a hotshot that has all of the scouts talking. Three years ago, it was Steven Stamkos from the Markham Waxers. The year before that, it was John Tavares with the Toronto Marlies. All four of the Staal brothers have come through the tournament as has Corey Perry, Sam Gagner and Drew Doughty.

This year, the kid making the most noise is a slick centre named Daniel Catenacci. He plays for the York Simcoe Express and while the team was named long before Catenacci came along, Express is a fitting description of their captain. He has “another gear” which is what the scouts say about a player that can find an extra burst of speed to create a scoring chance.

Catenacci had the stands buzzing when he scored the team’s first goal of the tournament in a win over the Jr. Canadiens on Wednesday afternoon. He was sandwiched between a pair of defenders when he picked up a pass at the blueline, blew past one of them and then carved his way by the other to break in alone on the net. He saved his best move for the goalie, roofing a backhander that tied the score at one. He scored again on a powerplay in the opening seconds of the third period and that goal held up as the game-winner.

The stands were full of OHL scouts and general managers - including Dale Hunter from the London Knights and Kingston Frontenacs’ coach Doug Gilmour. Every one of them was salivating at the prospect of having Catenacci fill one of their uniforms next season.

This group of prospects - known as the ‘93’s because of their birth year - has other highlights.

Alan Quine from the Jr. Canadiens also stood out in that game and Boone Jenner from the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs also has top-end talent. Catenacci’s teammate, defenceman Ryan Murphy, has tremendous vision and has drawn favourable comparisons to Windsor Spitfires’ star Ryan Ellis.

These guys will all go in the first round of the OHL Priority Selection. Last year, John McFarland dominated the tournament headlines and led the Jr. Canadiens to the championship. He went first overall to the Sudbury Wolves last year and after a productive rookie campaign, he is poised to break out as a star and top-end NHL prospect next season.

Give Catenacci a couple of years and he’ll be the talk of the rink again - next time as a future NHL star.

You can follow the tournament online at http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/ohl-cup-news-s10858

The lighting at Rink 2 in the Hershey Centre isn't great so it was tough to shoot any faster than 1/500. The Catenaccie shot at the top was at ISO 2500, 1/500th at f2. Shot with Nikon D700 with a 200mm f2 up in the stands over the glass. The main bowl has some better options and the one below of Andrew Fritsch of the Brantford 99ers was shot from the end of one of the team benches. D700 again but 1/800 at f2 and ISO 2000.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Web Site

My new Active Images Web Site is now up and running at http://www.activeimages.ca/.

Now you can follow my work online there, or on Facebook, or on Twitter, or on this Blog.

I feel so connected. I'm just not sure if I can afford to hire someone to keep all of these areas updated!


Here are a couple of my favourite shots from last week...

Bulls' forward Matt Tipoff following through on a slapper in Wednesday's game against the Petes. Shot from the corner (through the glass) with the D700, 200mm 2.0, 1/800s, f2, ISO 1250.

This is from the High School Hockey Shootout in the second intermission of the Bulls/Petes game on Wednesday night. I'm not sure what his name is, but this guy from St. Paul's scored to help them beat Nicholson in the final and win $1,500. Shot from the ice in front of the Bulls' bench with the D700, 200mm 2.0, 1/800s, f2, ISO 1250.


Brad Mangin is a fantastic sports photographer based in San Francisco and has made so many great images of some of the greatest baseball and football athletes of our time. If you are interested, take a look at some of his work at his site - http://www.manginphotography.com/

Looking at his baseball stuff makes me wish I was shooting spring training. The World baseball Classic shot on his welcome page is sensational.