Canadian photographer Dave Sandford reported living in a specialist sporting bubble for the National Hockey League just lately was like an exhausting edition of Groundhog Day.

The veteran lens gentleman has lined experienced ice hockey for most of his vocation, but said living in a lodge and working every day inside an arena in Edmonton in Canada was like almost nothing he experienced ever skilled.

“Every single day for about 5 months was almost the exact,” he claimed.

“I might wake up early to get my COVID check and get geared up to be at the arena by 9:00am for the initial recreation at 12:00pm, then there are game titles at 4:00pm and 8:00pm, and by the time I’d complete it would be 1:00am.

An overhead shot looking down on the ice rink as teams compete alongside empty stadium seats.
Like several experienced sporting organisations this 12 months, the NHL performed the finish of their year in vacant arenas.(Supplied: Dave Sandford/NHL)

Surviving on 3 several hours of sleep

Sandford reported he would occasionally not tumble asleep right up until 4:00am before waking once more at 7:00am to repeat the grind.

By the conclusion of his 69 days in the NHL bubble, he had photographed 81 online games, which is 1 recreation shorter of a team’s total period ordinarily played over 6 months, and taken virtually 100,000 photos.

His is just one particular of the numerous different activities of individuals doing the job to hold experienced sport heading through COVID-19.

“In the beginning, I was sitting down in a limited, crossed-legged yoga placement that wreaked havoc on me physically, and being in a chilly arena and operating the digital camera upwards of nine hrs definitely got to me,” he mentioned.

His rink-aspect business office was at some point upgraded to include a swivel chair so he could sit upright in the course of his several hours of taking pictures.

The Tampa Bay Lightning team celebrate winning the Stanley Cup on the ice rink with pyrotechnics happening behind.
The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate winning the 2020 Stanley Cup in front of an empty arena.(Supplied: Dave Sandford/NHL)

Australia travel options on hold for 2nd calendar year

Commonly at the finish of summer time Sandford swaps specialist sport and Arctic expeditions for the South Coast of New South Wales.

This calendar year, COVID-19 intended he could not travel to check out his sister and her spouse and children in Wollongong, and there is no certainty around traveling in 2021 either.

An empty fenced off area with tables and chairs next to the arena, photographed from above.
A fenced off spot future to the arena in Edmonton provided an outdoor area for employees to get fresh air and sunshine whilst in the NHL bubble.(Provided: Dave Sandford)

“I would like absolutely nothing far more than to get back again to Australia every time it can be attainable,” he mentioned.

“Now is when I might start scheduling for 2021 and preferably I like to head that way all around February or March so, realistically contemplating, I’m possibly not going to be capable to go then.

Practical experience on polar expeditions fantastic preparation for bubble lifetime


Previously doing the job as a character photographer on cruises in the Arctic Circle, Sandford was used to working with cramped residing situations and extended durations away from his pals and household.

He said he did not realise that experience would put together him so perfectly for the endeavor of documenting sport from a COVID-protected bubble.

“It well prepared me in a way I in no way would have dreamt of,” he explained.

“Currently being away from family members, mates, pets and mother nature, there are a whole lot of items I have as a aid process that were not there.”

But in contrast to a lot of people whose do the job had been affected by COVID-19, he however experienced a task.

“Now I’m again residence, it is really frightening thinking about the quick upcoming,” he reported.