Hockey Untaped: The Media That Makes it HappenOctober 24, 2018
Everyone has a story. A story how they first were introduced to the game or a player that inspired them. Access Hockey MI is no different. Everyone here is devoted to the game of hockey and we cherish those memories that inspired us to pursue it.
Before launching our new series, Hockey Untaped, we wanted to invite you to join our memories.
Jenae Anderson – Lead Photographer
Sports are uniquely unifying. People from different backgrounds and beliefs can together celebrate a common experience. Sports serve every spectrum of the fanbase whether a watch party consisting of ruckus cheering or a solid nap during a golf tournament. To me, hockey is the most unique of them all. Hockey marries grit and poise to produce fierce competition. With countless leagues and opportunity, hockey can unify countries while still entertaining. It’s hard to not love a sport that gets you so invested you feel you’ve been playing alongside them for sixty minutes – or maybe that’s just me. Loving and covering hockey as media has been a highlight in my life.
I have the classic “I grew up watching hockey” story. You aren’t a real fan until you’ve watched on a 13” television with bunny ear antennas. I grew up watching Steve Yzerman, the Russian Five, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. I was the middle schooler trouncing around the hallways in an oversized jersey I took from my brothers. I love hockey because of the incredible athletes. If they are good, every shift is played as hard as the last. If they are smart, the line you’re on doesn’t cheapen your play. If they are dedicated, they can only improve. If you’re all three, you’re probably Alex Ovechkin.
I will always note the turning point in my fandom as the 2016-2017 Grand Rapids Griffins Calder Cup victory. It was that moment I wasn’t satisfied with just watching from a distance. I wanted to contribute somehow. I began taking photos for Access Hockey MI in 2016. I was granted credentials to photograph the USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks, Grand Rapids Griffins and Toledo Walleye. Each week I attend upwards of three games as well as juggle a full-time job. In many ways, I see my budding photographic career much like the junior teams I cover. We’re all trying to get noticed for our craft. “Media” sounds more snobbish than I wish to portray. I consider myself honored to be a small part of the teams I photograph. If it sounds like I am more emotionally invested than I should be, you’re probably right. Then again, isn’t that what being a sports fan is all about?
Topher Nowak – Michigan University Hockey Writer, Access Hockey MI Contributor
I was watching the Michigan vs Vermont game a couple of weekends ago and I was just watching the fans at a hockey game on a crisp October night. It made me think about the game of hockey, my own hockey journey and everything in-between.
According to my parents, hockey was the first thing that ever caught my attention. I can remember building a backyard hockey rink with my dad as I learned how to skate and my dog always trying to steal my puck away from me. Breaking in my hockey skates by walking around the house and thinking I was Steve Yzerman. My passion for the game of hockey hasn’t changed, it’s probably grown even more over the last 29 years of my life.
I sat at Yost Ice Arena and thought about what I love about the game of hockey, I love it all! I love the competition, the sound of a sharp skate hitting a fresh piece of ice, the feeling of being in a 1-0 game late in the third period and the memory of my first goal. Hockey is a game of emotions, traditions but to me, it’s a game that makes me feel human.
There is no difference between the kids just learning this game from the ones who are in the hall of fame or in the pros. A passion for the game doesn’t go away. Through every experience I’ve endured playing this game, the drive is still there. Hockey players are tough, talented and smart but hockey player possess the most amazing gifts and that’s compassion, love, unity, and leadership.
Our game is amazing because it doesn’t just end after a game or a career. This game lives through the dreams and passions we all have about this game we love.
Brandon Share-Cohen – Columnist and Access Hockey MI USHL Contributor
Sports are my entire life. From a young age, I’ve let sports dictate everything I do and the fabric of sports are as much a part of me as the skin on my body. Regardless of the sport, regardless of the league and regardless of the team’s playing, my days and nights are ruled by sports in one way or another. It’s for that reason that aspiring to work in sports in some capacity has and always will be the goal.
When I first got an opportunity to write as a contributor, I took the opportunity and ran with it. The website I joined was one subdivision of an entire network of websites and was run by one site expert with a few contributors. After I showed what I was capable of, I was quickly promoted as a co-site expert myself. In other words, I did whatever I could to force my way up and was told that I’d be paid for my work rather than writing on a volunteer basis as I had been. That opportunity took me elsewhere and I’ve been working on written media ever since (something I did while completing my degree in an entirely unrelated field).
Outside of just writing, I’ve done spots on television, radio, and have even hosted my own podcast. For all of the work that goes into any and all forms of content I produce, it very rarely feels like work. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had within the industry and I don’t think my hunger for more will ever be met. There’s always room to improve, always more you can do and always more than can be learned. It’s going to be a long journey, but it’s a journey I’m ready for and one that I’m so happy to be a part of.
Rachel Anderson – Access Hockey MI Writer & Editor
There’s next to nothing I love more than the game of hockey. Being blessed with the opportunity to be in media, to see behind the scenes and get to know the extraordinary people that make it possible, has been an incredible experience.
Growing up watching the game will always remain the brightest parts of my youth. In a house full of older brothers, I was often picked as the one to wear the hand-me-down goalie mask, baseball glove, and Goodwill shin guards for their slapshot practice. Covered in welts and freezing to the bone, I couldn’t be happier. As kids, that’s all we wanted to do. We sat perched in front of our family TV for the glorious Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup runs, staring till our eyes glossed over. Every sleepless night and missed homework assignment was worth never missing a moment. I cried when tragedy stuck the Red Wings with the accident that ended the careers of Sergei Mnatsakanov and Vladimir Konstantinov. I cried even harder in 1998 when Steve Yzerman placed the cup in Vlady’s lap for a victory lap.
The same feeling comes over me every time I walk into a rink and breathe the crisp, fresh ice air. As a behind-the-scenes person, I get to see what makes these players truly great. I see their hearts. The sadness of a loss and the joy in victory. I see the brotherhood playout in real time. No cameras, no gimmicks, just raw comradery at its finest.