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Hockey player mistakes lens for puck after it falls on the ice during NHL finals

As someone who photographs hockey as often as physically possible, one of my biggest fears is to have my lens knocked off when shooting through the photographer holes many venues have.

Although I’ve never had it happen, one unlucky photographer faced my biggest fear Wednesday night when his lens came off during a Stanley Cup Finals game between the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ice Hockey Lens

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During game two of the Stanley Cup Finals, an unknown photographer was shooting through one of the holes cut into the plexiglass boards when a pass behind the net appears to have hit the lens as it was poking through.

Immediately, the lens can be seen bouncing around on the ice before Pittsburgh’s Patric Hornqvist gives it a few love taps with his stick and gives the refs a little “what the heck is this” shrug.

Fellow hockey photographer Bruce Bennett said the lens was a Canon 15mm fisheye, a $650 lens that’s no longer manufactured. Although the video evidence isn’t conclusive, it appears as though the lens was entirely ripped from its mounting plate, exposing the internal circuitry (what drives the autofocus and transmits the lens’ EXIF data to the camera). Combine that with the fall to the ice and this lens has likely seen its last days, as it’s probably cheaper to buy a new one than to have fixed.

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The blame could easily be put on the photographer, as he was poking his lens through the glass. But in my experience shooting  hockey, there’s no rule against that unless you’re intentionally trying to interfere with play. Hockey is a fast-paced game during which the puck is flying in every direction imaginable.

It’s all part of the risk you accept when you step into the arena to shoot a game.