Picture perfect at Sheffield Steelers: The best ice hockey photographer in the business?

Another trophy - another great picture
Another trophy - another great picture

Dean Woolley is a civil servant by day - but arguably Britain’s best ice hockey photographer by night.

He has been a fan of the sport for almost 25 years - as a kid he was hooked by the speed, skill, hits and fights.

It’s a passion he shares with his family - mum, dad, sister, aunty, uncle and cousins.

The 37-year-old from Swinton (goalie Ben Bowns’ home village) has an eye for potentially award-winning pictures on a par with the best sports snappers.

Yet he got to his position, as Sheffield Steelers’ club cameraman, by chance.

He says: “I started dabbling in photography six years ago when I bought my first camera. I knew the photographer at the Steelers from playing recreational hockey together and asked if I could shadow him at a game.

Boxing Day v Panthers: classic Arena shot

Boxing Day v Panthers: classic Arena shot

“My timing was perfect as he’d been considering getting a second shooter to support him” said Woolley.

“Being behind the scenes at a club I’d been a fan of was a wonderful opportunity.

“Half way through that first season, the club shooter decided to call it a day and, unbelievably, the club owner asked me to take over.

“It was a dream come true!

An extradordinary shot of Tim Wallace in rare fight action

An extradordinary shot of Tim Wallace in rare fight action

“Since then I’ve expanded my portfolio covering sports such as football, boxing, swimming, rugby - some for The Star. It’s taken me to places including Austria, Finland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Sweden and Denmark.

“The pinnacle in my journey came last year when I was asked to become Tea, GB official photographer. To get the opportunity to support your country in anything is unbelievable.

“In April I shot the world championships in Belfast. The team had been knocking on the door for promotion for years. This year, my first covering them, they won gold.

“Words can’t describe the feeling being there on the ice.

Team GB - another of Woolley's passions

Team GB - another of Woolley's passions

“And to top it off, after the tournament the organisation presented me with a gold medal. That was amazing.”

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Ervins Mustukovs - always a good subject for Woolley

Ervins Mustukovs - always a good subject for Woolley

Jonathan Phillips on the boards

Jonathan Phillips on the boards

Mathieu Roy Goal

Mathieu Roy Goal

Team GB

Team GB

Player, puck...goal. Getting the basics right.

Player, puck...goal. Getting the basics right.

Ervins Mustukovs - out of the darkness

Ervins Mustukovs - out of the darkness

Dean Woolley

Dean Woolley