We are five days into the new year, but we still have sometime to look back on 2013. Today, I took 26 of my favorite shots from the year and looked back on them. Above, probably my favorite photo from the year; Tom Wilson celebrating his first professional goal. The image captures Wilson’s excitement of getting the goal at a professional level for the first time, plus the excitement of the Bears faithful as Wilson scored the goal ahead goal in Game 4 of the first round series between Hershey and the Providence Bruins.
During a game in early January, Mark French pulled an impromptu meeting with the team during the review of a goal. One of the most interesting moments of the 2012-13 seasons in my opinion.
After a Bears win against Connecticut in January, I headed over to Hersheypark Stadium to check out the progress on the outdoor rink. The fog of that night gave me some of the best shots I have ever taken.
Just a few days later, the Bears took to the ice to get some work in on the rink with no roof. Dany Sabourin paused during the practice to talk to goalie Philipp Grubauer. The expression in Sabourin’s eyes I believes makes this photo, as you see a but of a twinkle from talking to the young Grubauer.
Former bad boy Louis Robitaille does is infamous dance after a mini-scrap with Dennis Bonvie during the alumni game. Fans had a love hate relationship with “Louie”, but this day they enjoyed his antics.
One of the greatest Bears of all time, Mitch Lamoureux salutes the crowd after the alumni game. Lamoureux is still big in the Bears community, but this time he was back on the ice saying thanks to the fans after a fun almuni game.
In a locker room normally reserved for football players, skates are substituted for cleats. I got an inside look at the tiny dressing room for the team before they took the ice.
Above are my three favorite photos from the 2013 AHL Outdoor Classic; Philipp Grubauer walking to the ice before the second period, Julien Brouilette walking back to the locker room after the second period, and Dany Sabouin getting ready for the third period. These three images show the amazing parts of the game being outside from Grubauer walking across astro-turf on skates, the pitch black sky behind Brouilette, and Sabourin’s breath visible from the freezing temperatures.
Steve Oleksy had one heck of a game back in February against Wilkes-Barre. Above, Oleksy lays a punch into Bobby Farnham. Later, the d-man would table top Steve MacIntyre on a huge hit.
Danick Paquette played only two games in a Bears uniform, but really impressed fans in his game against Binghamton. With a huge hit and a fight that made Bears fans rise to their feet.
Matt Clackson did not dress a lot during his time in Hershey, but he was a force to be reckoned with. Multiple times Clackson chirped opponents, quickly becoming a fan favorite during his short time in Hershey.
Hershey would have a perfect weekend in early March with three straight wins in a 3-in-3. Ryan Stoa contributed to the middle game with a game tying goal and a very excited celly.
In that same weekend, Casey Wellman would find the back of the net on a breakaway, and had an excited celly of his own.
A late season trade by the Washington Capitals brought Michael Latta to Hershey, and in Game 3 of the first round, he showed Hershey that the Caps got a good deal.
Wellman would be a huge part of Hershey for the rest of the season after he was brought to Hershey. During the same game as Latta’s celebration above, Wellman would add a goal of his own, as Dmitry Orlov joins him here to celebrate.
The 2013-14 season started of with a bang. Literally. Joel Rechlicz returned to Chocolate Town, USA last season via trade, but “Recker” returned as a free agent this off-season. One of the biggest fan favorites in the history of Hershey Bears hockey, Joel showed his fighting side in the first game of the season against the Phantoms.
Possibly my favorite fight photo of the year: Michael Latta dropping Darroll Powe of the Hartford Wolf Pack during an early season game. Latta’s intense face, plus the readiness of his fist for a punch, all wrapped up with Powe airborne makes this photo one of the best I think I have ever taken.
As the year comes to a close, the teddy bear toss is always a very photogenic event. This year I experienced the extravaganza from ice level.
Three words: Miley Cyrus Remix.
Finally, Gordie Howe came to Hershey for one of the most amazing experiences of my life. If you have not already, please check out this special event that rounded out the year in Hershey.