Year in Photos brings back fond memories

By THN Art Director Jamie Hodgson

Being the Art Director at The Hockey News has its privileges. It’s also a lot of work and responsibility, but it’s all worth it when I consider the terrific experiences I’m fortunate to enjoy.

Prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics, I arranged a photo shoot with San Jose’s ‘Big 3’ – Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley – for the cover of our Olympic preview issue.

On a Sunday morning at a swanky hotel in Toronto, wearing Team Canada sweaters, the Sharks line was jovial, courteous and clearly enjoyed the shoot, as did I. They signed a white Canada sweater for me, even including their Olympic numbers under their signatures. I was on a roll, up until the point I tried to invite myself along to their Super Bowl party that evening. I got a stare from ‘Big Joe’ that obviously meant “not this time, man.”

I’ve seen it all in my 10-plus years of photo shoots: the efficient Alex Ovechkin, the come-early-stay-late Mike Cammalleri, the uber-fun and willing Steven Stamkos, Luke Schenn when he was still a shy rookie, the cranky and annoyed Bob Goodenow, the intimidating yet friendly giant Zdeno Chara and a prominent player whose identity I won’t expose who showed up to a shoot in a pick-up truck with a friend and a couple of six-packs.

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These memories came to the fore when scouring the more than 200,000 images that were reviewed and edited down to the best 350-plus for our special Year in Photos issue. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, I wouldn’t want to guess how long this novel would be.

Speaking of 1,000 words (edited down to 100 or so), another special moment in my career was sharing 10 minutes of alone time a couple years ago with Gordie Howe, ‘Mr. Hockey’ himself, as we were setting up for a shoot here at our offices in Toronto. He entertained me with stories of his early days going up against some of the game’s greats. At one point, Gordie noticed I was limping because of an injury I sustained from my summer passion, rugby. He told me to suck it up and that whatever was wrong with me couldn’t compare to what he had been through. I agreed, then he threw a giant elbow at my chin and apologized by grabbing my arm with his size XXXL Saskatchewan farm boy hands.

I was out for another week.

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