Bruce Bennett is celebrating his 5000th hockey game by looking back at his career and picking his Top 10 images. Here's the story behind them as told by Bruce...

Mark Messier was a leader throughout his career. His stare alone would send shivers down competitors’ spines. As a photographic subject, he was always one of the best. Captured here in 2002, he appears as a throwback to another time in hockey’s history; a gladiator whose win at all costs attitude made him an asset to all teams he was a part of.

Much of our current sports coverage involves shooting with strobes at one frame every three seconds. Shooting available light at the Olympics this year in Sochi at ten frames per second certainly helped capture this moment, but even then, only three frames were of any value.

                                                     

Simply put, ‘the goal that saved a nation’s pride,’ Sidney Crosby is captured from an overhead remote camera scoring the gold medal winning goal in Vancouver in 2010. I shot this while watching the game on the scoreboard kneeling way back in the Zamboni chute waiting to go on the ice for the post game celebration.

‘When Gretzky played with Lemieux’. The highlight of the 1987 Canada vs. Russia series was watching two of the greatest players who had ever played the sport of hockey – Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Here they combine on the go ahead goal (5-4) with about four minutes left in game two of the series.

The start of my career almost turned disastrous as I couldn’t get out on the ice to cover the Stanley Cup presentation in 1979 when Montreal defeated the New York Rangers. While standing on a chair in the first row of the stands, I captured this image which has gone on to photographically symbolize the winning of the Stanley Cup.

                                                     

A simplistic image in photographic technique, and popularized by its appearance in the Photo District News in 2000, this image of an 18-year old Wayne Gretzky has been used countless times throughout the past 30 plus years.

‘Thirtieth try a winner.’ One cliché that finally worked out is the shot of players knocking the pucks off the boards to start their pregame practice. Here, future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne hits the pucks with the same precision that he has used to score over 700 goals in the National Hockey League, thereby creating the perfect symmetry.

                                                                                                      

Funny what a little cotton and kerosene can do for an image. One of the NHL’s most prolific scorers, Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders, posed for a few frames that I shot for a newspaper cover that was commissioned by The Hockey News in 1980.

When stars collide! Capturing big hits on the ice is great, but capturing two of the league’s biggest stars is even better. Known for his patented hip check amongst other things, Denis Potvin nails Montreal’s star forward Guy Lafleur in an open ice hit – something we don’t see often enough in the NHL these days.

                                                        

Technically this isn’t a great shot, and it is kind of tough selling images of a guy with his eyes closed. But in 1989 when superstar forward Lanny McDonald finally realized his dreams of winning the Stanley Cup, this image told it all. His ‘Field of Dreams’ was a frozen one, and his lifetime goal of capturing hockey’s Holy Grail had finally been achieved.

Editor's Note: See some more of Bruce's pictures that almost made his Top 10 here. 

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