Over the summer, I had the opportunity to work for Dallas Stars goalie coach Mike Valley. Mike is the owner and operator of Elite Goalies, who provides a mentorship program, strength and conditioning dvds, private training, and elite camps.
Mike was a goaltender at the University of Wisconsin (my hometown), and has played in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks as well. During one of the camps I photographed, St Louis Blues (and former University of Wisconsin) goaltender Brian Elliott (above image, on the right) was there to assist Valley in drills and shooting. It was outstanding to meet Mr Elliott and watch both him and Valley interact with the goalies. I’ll admit, I never really knew that much about what hockey goalies need, do, or think… but I have a lot more respect for them now, that is certain.
I don’t know Mike well, but he’s so easy to get along with, and really polite off the ice. On the ice, he’s gonna make you work your ass off, but he’s able to get the most out of you, and that’s the idea of his camps in the first place. All three camps I shot for him and EG were different, and I met some great people like Valley, Elliott, Justin Goldman, Landon Peterson, Josh Robinson, Peter Emery, Adam Clark, and Mitch Thompson. It takes a special kind of person to voluntarily get in the way of frozen pucks fired at high speed. As far as the camps themselves, man I tell ya, there’s nothing I enjoy more than showing up at a rink and photographing; absolutely nothing. Being on the ice and being able to go wherever I needed to be in order to get the shot was a thrill. I even managed to not get hit by stray pucks! I love meeting the players, and being so close to the best sport in the world.
Photographing hockey is something that I absolutely love to do, and I will continue to do so as long as I’m able to. Being able to work with some of the best guys in it was incredible to me, and I am grateful for the opportunity.
Here are some more pictures from the camps: