Dallas-based portrait photographer Trey Hill is in his fourth season shooting for the Dallas Stars. Although his work for the professional hockey team is regular, it’s far from typical. Unlike much of the on-ice, sweaty, and sometimes bloody shots characteristic of hockey photography, Trey—with the approval of the Stars’ innovative marketing team—takes a more unique approach to his sports photos.
According to Trey, the Dallas Stars and their marketing department recognize how important it is to offer fans a way to connect with their team beyond the game. Therefore, in 2008, they hired Trey to follow along and document a Stars’ road trip—one that included the last days of celebrated player Mike Modano as a Dallas Star.
That two game assignment—part one in Dallas, finishing in Minnesota—was full of poetry, on and off the ice. It was an incredible experience to shoot a story like that about one of the U.S.’s greatest athletes.
Trey wasn’t the only one who saw poetry in the photos. The team loved the shots, and their fans loved getting a sneak peek behind the scenes. So, the Stars have continued to bring Trey back to tell more of the story,
My relationship with the Stars is fairly unique. After seeing some of my work, they hired me to shoot a book they were producing for season seat holders. Unlike most sports photography, I didn’t focus on game action because so much of what is compelling about the sport happens away from the puck and off the ice. In that way, what I shoot for the Stars is more like the work I do internationally for non-profits than anything else.
Recently, Trey went out with the team again on another road trip. This time, he spent a week living (and shooting) the life of the pro hockey team,
On the surface, it’s amazing to travel with the Stars. They charter a beautiful plane, stay in incredible hotels, and eat really, really well. But in exchange, it’s pretty brutal work. One the most recent trip in December, I was gone for a week and averaged about four hours of sleep a night.
I look at how exhausted I am after a week of going that hard and can’t help but think about the players, coaches, PR and broadcast staff—this is their life from October to April. They do 41 away games a year and Dallas has the most grueling travel in the NHL. I feel like a wimp for saying what I did was hard, because what they do would probably kill me.
Despite the long days, Trey loves shooting for the Stars, especially with so much creative freedom. It’s a fun challenge for him to try and find fresh ways to “see inside a pretty regimented routine…and find something new, revealing or poignant.”
Trey believes his work photographing for non-profits improves his eye and style for his sports work, and vice versa. He concludes,
It’s a great reminder that people are people.