Team pho­tog­ra­pher

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - BLACKHAWKS -

As the play­ers, of­fi­cials and youth hockey play­ers stand at at­ten­tion dur­ing the na­tional an­them, it’s hard to miss team pho­tog­ra­pher Chase Ag­nello-Dean at work. With a cam­era in one hand and one or more draped over his shoul­ders, this gen­tle gi­ant moves along the ice cap­tur­ing the mo­ments for pos­ter­ity. And he’s also do­ing his best not to slip.

“I’ve fallen twice,” Ag­nello-Dean said. “It was not grace­ful.”

The seem­ingly sim­ple task of pho­tograph­ing the day’s events at the United Cen­ter is ac­tu­ally com­plex, re­quir­ing two pho­tog­ra­phers — Bill Smith is the other — and a team of in­terns.

At the end of a game day, roughly 3,000 photos are taken.

Ag­nello-Dean’s fa­vorite mo­ments? The 2010 Stan­ley Cup cham­pi­onship ban­nerrais­ing cer­e­mony and when Dun­can Keith scored the go-ahead goal in Game 6 of the 2015 Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal — the only one of the three ti­tles from the last decade that the Hawks clinched on home ice.

“After Dun­can scored, you can see it (was go­ing to hap­pen),” he said. “The build­ing was alive.”

Ag­nello-Dean has near carte blanche to shoot what he needs to pre­serve what takes place at the United Cen­ter. He has de­vel­oped an in­tu­itive un­der­stand­ing of how to give the play­ers pri­vacy when they need it.

“The play­ers and I over the years have struck an un­of­fi­cial agree­ment, I sup­pose,” he said. “There’s some times when I just don’t go in the room, and out­side of that, I’m kind of free to roam.

“I stay out of the coaches room — that’s an old-school thing. That’s their area. Leave it be.”

Ag­nello-Dean for­tu­itously joined the Hawks be­fore the 2009-10 sea­son and shot the three sub­se­quent Stan­ley Cup ti­tle runs.

He re­al­izes his pictures will be around long after he and ev­ery­one else cur­rently in the or­ga­ni­za­tion are gone.

“It’s not just now; it’s 20, 30, 40, 100 years down the road when Black­hawks hockey is still play­ing,” he said. “We can look back on this era and rem­i­nisce, en­joy, cel­e­brate. And we’ve shot the hell out of it.”

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