Rubbing elbows with the Philadelphia Flyers

I was warned, let me state that up front… I was warned repeatedly before the game to pay attention to my surroundings at all times when photographing professional hockey. During the first period I was assigned a location at ice level. What this means, is that I would be photographing the first section of the game on my knees at the end of the stairs that terminate at the boards that separate the athletes from the spectators. There is a small hole, about 3x4 inch, cut through the plexiglass barrier which credentialed photographers can use to take pictures. The advantage of this is not having countless reflections in your photograph, along with many autofocus problems. The rather exciting “keep you on your toes” drawback, is that your camera can become part of the action. After a few body checks rattled my cramped position, I spent a few precious seconds visually comparing the size of a puck, to the size of the hole directly in front of my face. The conclusion I reached wasn’t in my favor, but I soldiered on.
My position was roughly mid way between the visitor’s goal and the “Blue Line” and I was using predominantly a lens that zoomed from 70mm to 200mm. At 200mm my field of view was just a bit larger than the width of the goal. I was snapping away while Thomas Greiss, the goalie for the Phoenix Coyotes, was protecting his net with admirable speed and agility. I never saw it coming. One of the Flyers players, being chased by a Coyote, bumped my perch, elbowing my lens on the way by. Needless to say, I quickly withdrew a few inches, checked my nose for blood, made sure my eye was still functioning, and resumed my assignment, albeit with a bit more paranoia. It was a fun filled evening and I look forward to returning soon