Fire and Fury in Calgary

Jayna Barnden leads the flyby after scoring the opening goal for Calgary Fire White versus Calgary Fire Red in their Alberta Female Hockey League (Bantam Elite) game at Crowchild Twin Arenas, Calgary on Jan 21, 2017.
© J. Ashley Nixon


Red and White at Blue

Just to be clear, the local match-up between the two Girls Hockey Calgary teams in the Alberta Female Hockey League (Bantam Elite) on Sunday had Fire Red playing in white and Fire White playing in red; at the Blue Arena of Crowchild Twins. Got that?

Three goals in three minutes

It was a game that lived up to expectations as both teams threw themselves into a furious paced game that realized just five faceoffs in the first twenty minutes of play. The first came from a cross-checking penalty that put Hannah Suto in the box for Fire White. The next three happened to restart the game after three goals by Fire White in a blur of action just over three minutes long.

First to score was Jayna Barden after 15 minutes when she struck a wrister over the glove of the Fire Red goalie, Madelynne Sherlock. A minute later, Ella Kitchen pushed one through traffic, blocker side. Just over two minutes later, Ryann Perrett beat her defensive marker to the puck and flipped it over Sherlock’s pads.

The storm calmed in the second period, no goals. Five minutes into the final period, Fire Red pulled one back with a fabulous solo skate by Claire Hobbs down the right side of the ice, beating three White defenders and a shot over the shoulder of Ali Kieren. Fire White was not for rattling though and stuck to playing some attacking hockey. Perrett got her second goal of the game, with five minutes remaining.

Final score: Calgary Fire White 4-1 Calgary Fire Red

Song of the Match

DJ Dale played some nice tunes from the likes of Ozzy Osborne and The Beastie Boys but I’m not going there. My Three Star selection is a song that had the Fire White team singing along on the bench: Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone (2004). Not to be confused with Since You Been Gone, written by Argent’s guitarist, Russ Ballard (1976) but perhaps better known for the version by Rainbow released in 1979.

Up next

Calgary Fire White travel north up the QEII highway on Saturday, Jan 27 for a game against Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs at the Penhold Regional Multiplex (12:30).

More action from the game

For more photos from the game please follow this link to J. Ashley Nixon Communications



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Fire White pop in four goals against Grizzlys

Chyenne Risling and the Calgary Fire White celebrate a goal against Olds Grizzlys in the Alberta Female Hockey League game (Bantam Elite) at Bowness Sportsplex, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
© J. Ashley Nixon

All tied after 40

The scoring was even after 20 minutes; it was still all square after 40. Then Fire White got into some serious fore-checking, put lots of pressure on the Olds Grizzlys defense and turned in two more goals.

Goals from Healey, Wiltshire, and Gilkyson (2)

The Grizzlys opened the scoring with a goal by Emily Biggin after eight minutes of play. Mya Healey equalized just after 15 minutes. Fire White took the lead seven minutes after the turnaround but that was neutralized by another goal by the Grizzlies, scored by Kallie Klouston.

Two goals by defender, Gracie Gilkyson in the final period went unanswered. It was enough for the Calgary team to secure their 17th win of the season in the Alberta Female Hockey League (Bantam Elite) and maintain their top spot in the Southern Division with a gap of 16 points against their nearest rival, Calgary Fire Red.

Final score: Calgary Fire White 4-2 Olds Grizzlys

Song of the Match

When DJ Dale is in charge of the music, expect a fair smattering of ear-shattering music. But I’m not going for AC/DC today. The Song of the Match is Poets by the Canadian Hockey Music Lords, The Tragically Hip, from 1998.

Enjoy the fish (see video) and a look back at a Poet of Canada, young Gord Downie. May you rest in peace.

Up next:

Tomorrow is already here and that means a big game against GHC family rivals, Calgary Fire Red at Crowchild Blue Arena (15:45). Watch this space for that match report coming up soon!

More action from the game

For more photos from the game please follow this link to J. Ashley Nixon Communications





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Fire def in Lloyd

Faceoff action between Lizzie Mura (Calgary Fire White) and Taylor Robinson (Lloydminster Junior Steelers) in their Alberta Female Hockey League (Bantam Elite) game at Servus Sports Centre, Lloydminster on Jan 14, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Def, yes

It was a def* performance by Fire White against the Steelers in Lloydminster on Sunday in more ways than one. Excellent on the ice it was. A game that earned the Calgary team their 48th point in the Alberta Female Hockey League (Bantam Elite) placing them 16 points ahead of their closest rival, Fire Red in the southern division with eight games remaining.

*informal adjective: excellent.

DEF, no

But the journey home wasn’t so def. The bus was lacking DEF**, an essential ingredient for running a modern diesel engine and it was leaking the stuff, so much so that the team was held up by three hours until a solution could be sorted. At least it was a holdout in the arena, not a break down on the highway’s icy edge, an ugly prospect with the temperature dropping back down to minus 18. And it gave time for some other things. Time for the team to sit in the stands, devour a few large boxes of tasty pizza from Spiros while watching their older sisters on the Midget AAA Fire team play against the Steelers (the Fire lost). Time to check into the Fan 960 and listen to the Flames getting their seventh win on the trot with a 4-1 victory in Raleigh against Carolina Hurricanes. Oh, and time for a diversionary drive in the kiddy car with Spot the Dog.

**Diesel Exhaust Fluid

And now, back to the hockey

A couple of goals in the first period gave the Calgary team their sixteenth win of the season. Gracie Gilkyson scored after six minutes, beating Steelers goalie, Tianna Stanford with a back-handed shot over her left glove, assisted by Sarah Gaiser and Asha Hanson. It was the sixth goal of the season for the defender.

With just under two minutes remaining in the opening period, Sarah Gaiser got her second point of the game in a scramble in front of the net. The first of Gaiser’s close-range shots were stopped, then one from Ella Kitchen, then another from Hannah Suto. Gaiser dug in again and bundled the puck under Goalie Stanford’s left pad. Somewhere in the action, Stanford got an injury to her hand. and had to leave the ice, to be replaced by Kamden Rochford. No more scoring in the remainder of the game, due to another solid D game for White and giving Ali Kieren her fifth shutout of the season.

Final score: Lloydminster Junior Steelers 0-2 Calgary Fire White.

Song of the Match

Song of the Match in Lloydminster might have been Devo’s Whip It from 1980 with a dedication to the blue-line slappers.  Even better if the off-ice crew had played that eccentric new wave/punk band’s version (1978) of Satisfaction. Bryan Adams might have been in contention with his Canadian rink favourite, Summer of ’69 (1984) but there was a classic moment in the third period when one of the refs had an injury to attend to.

With space and time for a long burst of music, Lizzie leaped into dancing, on the Fire bench. Say what? Three Stars goes to Rolex by Ayo & Theo (2017). If you wanna watch, remember I just wanna Rolly, Rolly, Rolly…

Up next

Two games in the coming weekend: Olds Grizzlys are the visitors at Bowness Sportsplex, Calgary, Saturday, Jan 20, 2018 (19:30) and then on Sunday, Jan 21, Fire White host their GHC family rivals, Calgary Fire Red at Crowchild Blue Arena (15:45).

More action from the game

For more photos from the game please follow this link to J. Ashley Nixon Communications



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Fire wins in High River

Mya Healey (Calgary Fire White) and Brooklyn LeDuc (Rocky Mountain Raiders) faceoff during their Alberta Female Hockey League (Bantam Elite) game at Bob Snodgrass Recreation Complex, High River, Alberta.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Bob Snodgrass

If you take a drive for just under an hour south from Calgary, you get to the Bob Snodgrass Recreation Complex in High River, one of the outposts of the Rocky Mountain Raiders hockey team. A nice arena with an interesting name. So, who was Bob Snodgrass? Take a detour here if you are interested in local history.

And now, it’s back to the hockey

The game was another one full of penalties (14 split equally), like the last meeting of these two sides on December 16, 2017. And, like that previous encounter, it took a while for skates to get moving on this, the first game after the winter holiday break. No score in the first period, no score in the second period.

Just about a minute into the final period, Fire White used their player advantage carried over from a penalty to the Raiders at the end of the second period to slot the puck in the net. Asha Hanson got that one, assisted by Gracie Gilkyson and Mia Bierd from a shot out on the left boards that beat the goalie, Hali Lawrence blocker side. Three minutes later, Ella Kitchen, parked in her favourite place front of the net, tipped in a shot over the goalie’s sprawling left pad. An even-strength goal, her first of the season assisted by new gloves, stick and skate blades, as well as helpers from Gilkyson and Chyenne Risling. Looks like the Zombie Nation gloves have been retired!

Final score: Rocky Mountain Raiders 0-2 Calgary Fire White

Up next: Road trip! The Fire White travel north-east to the far reaches of the province (544 km) to play Lloydminster Junior Steelers at the Servus Sports Centre on Sunday, Jan 14, 2018 (10:15 am).

Song of the match

My top pick of the match is another folk/country song (what’s happening?) It’s my guess that the Rocky Mountain Raiders sing this one on their team road trips as it is an anthem around mountain and country living, albeit in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, not the Rockies of Canada. Take Me Home, Country Roads was written and first released by John Denver in 1971. After all these years, I’m still trying to work out who he was singing about when he asks to be taken home by the “Mountain Mamma” Was it a person, was it a place? Helper?

This live version (from 1995) has the lyrics embedded so you can sing along to this timeless country tune. Sadly, Denver, a deep lover of nature died aged 53 when he crashed while flying his own plane.  I used to play a reggae version of this great song in Nigeria that went down well with the crowd. Here’s a smashing version by Toots and the Maytals that takes the location of the song to West Jamaica. Stay until the end of the song if you like your music funky!

More action from the game

For more photos from the game please follow this link to J. Ashley Nixon Communications


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Writing about Images: 17 pics from ’17

Stephanie Ford, a Calgary Cosplayer performing as Adepta Sorrita, from Warhammer 40K at the Calgary Expo.
© J.Ashley Nixon




Sports and music dominated my photography in 2017 as I was unable to make a field trip to Peru to continue with my long-term assignment on sustainable development. I did, however, enter a short film called Sugar in the Røde Reel Film Competition, based on one of my adventures around sugar cane plantations in the north of Peru in 2016. Sustainability also featured in a couple of conferences I photographed and filmed (Climate Action and the Sustainable Development Goals) as well as the scripting and planning for a series of short films on a water catchment in Alberta.


The international game between Canada and Georgia was played out on a most horrible cold, wet and windy day in June. In the pre-international game at the Calgary Rugby Union, it was a huge pleasure to watch my son, William play for the Calgary representative team, the Mavericks versus Edmonton Gold. The weather was far nicer when I traveled up to Edmonton to cover Canada’s game against Romania as well as the U-20 game versus Team USA. That match had a special highlight: James O’Neill, who I have seen developing as a Canuck over the years, was playing in the back row at this important junior international level.

It was a lot of fun in my inaugural season as team photographer with the Calgary Canucks. Many highlights there and you will have to take a look at my photo gallery to see my pick from many great moments in the Canucks season. Regrettably, it ended at the City Final stage when the Beavers were beaten by a surprising second-half come-back the Hornets. Better things will come “Up” in 2018!

On August 19, I participated, like thousands of other photographers, in World Photo Day. I chose to shoot three games of fifteen aside rugby in Cochrane and Calgary (Canucks vs Bow Valley; BC Bears vs Ontario Blues; and Prairie Wolf Pack vs Atlantic Rock). Now, with rugby 7s you can pack a lot more games into one day. Or why not go for two days? That’s what I did in March when, again, I photographed the HSBC Canada Rugby Sevens in Vancouver. The event generated thousands of images from 45 games, shot from the edge of the field. In a thrilling final, England beat South Africa, very pleasing to me, not so for RugbyPhotographer Garry, my sports photography mate, who shouts, and shoots, for the Blitzboks.


No time to go over for the Tour de France this year (I covered some of that in 2014) but the Tour of Alberta took me to Edmonton for a couple of Stages, around Windsor Park and a fast up-and-down circuit around the city centre. On the downside, I dropped and smacked a lens in my rush between places. It halted my video filming for the weekend but fortunately my deck builder, Greg was able to get the mangled filter removed and the lens is good to use again.

On the upside, my highlight was getting a lap around the circuit in the Silber Pro Cycling team car. Hopefully, I can do more with them, and cycling in Canada in 2018. And, let’s hope that the Tour of Alberta comes back to Calgary!


The year began and ended with hockey tournaments. In January, we traveled with the Bantam team of my daughter, Jennifer, to Missoula, Montana, the USA for a splendid display of girl power on the ice. It was also an opportunity to film the road trip and write, compile and publish my first photo book. A shout out to Mark Malone and Global Sport Academy/STIX Hockey, who made some great things happen in our girls’ development as people, not just players in 2017 across the border, over in BC (for the Canada Cup West), and up in Edmonton for the Alberta Provincial Finals where the team got the Silver Medal.

In the 2017-18 season, Mark’s positive approach to hockey continued under Kath Surbey and her coaching team as Jennifer moved up to the Alberta Female Hockey League with the Calgary Fire White Bantam Elite team. The team also performed well off the ice in some voluntary activities, including a very moving experience the day after Remembrance Day, when a young boy appeared, walking amongst the crosses. One of my poems from the year was inspired by the hockey gloves of Ella, one of the players on the Fire team. I have picked a photo from that season as one of my 17 from the year, which employs my rather rare use of Photoshop tricks. Check my photo gallery to see which one.

Closing out 2017 was the Mac’s AAA Midget Tournament, a week filled with young men and women playing Canada’s game at the highest level for their age. It was a hectic week getting around the arenas when the temperature plunged as low as minus 34 (excluding the wind chill) and covering (and editing images from) multiple games per day. The finals experience at the Scotiabank Saddledome was excellent. Congratulations to the championship teams, Rocky Mountain Raiders (Female Division) and Regina Pat Canadians (Male Division), the organizers, volunteers and all the participating teams for a great tournament.

Performance: music, dance, and comedy

For the second year, I joined the team of photographers covering the Sled Island Music and Arts Festival. This included the loudest and heaviest of Heavy Metal music I have experienced, at Dickens Pub, where Wolves In The Throne Room prepared their stage and performed with complete dedication to their hard-line genre. There was Fun Sledding as well, an evening of stand-up comedy down in the Library of Nite Owl Night Club.

One of the highlights of the gigs I covered during the Calgary Folk Music Festival Fall Concert Series was The Deep Dark Woods at the Festival Hall, Inglewood and my top music photo pick of the year (Ryan Boldt playing guitar). Another favourite was The Dead South, supported by Boots & The Hoots where some red and blue stage light did some very nice things with cowboy hats.

I was a dancing photographer for one morning in July when I dressed up and joined in with the Peruvian Community group Raices del Perú for their prize-winning performance in the Calgary Stampede Parade. The film I produced was featured on Peruvian television.

I created a studio in 2017 to do portrait photography. One of the assignments was around music players. You can see one of the images, Jennifer playing bass guitar, in my photo gallery of 17 pics. Also, there is one from my long-term assignment of capturing the costume, make-up, personality and sheer enthusiasm of Cosplayers (see top of this blog).

Arya the Airedale

In closing, it is with a heavy heart that I reflect on the loss of Arya the Airedale Terrier our dear, young dog, who passed away on September 1, 2017. Photographs can help in our memories of events, sad as well as happy. Photographs capture moments in time that are gone forever, but those images can hang on for a little longer as we continue onwards through life.

Here’s to another new year and wishing all of you, readers, colleagues, friends, and family the very best in your 2018.

Gallery of 17 pics from ’17

Here is the link to my photo gallery and my 17 selections from 2017.


Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Climate Action, Cosplay, Cycling, Dance, Documentary photography, England, Films, Heritage, Hockey, Music, NIXON Films, Peru, Pets, Photography, Rugby, Sports, Sports photography, Street photography, Sustainable Development, Travel, Travel photography, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A pivotal puck moment @MacsTournament @PALIslandersAAA @aaapatcanadians

Jack Glen and Sebastian Eger, Regina Pat Canadians (white simultaneously cross sticks and intercept a shot by Anthony Bernado, NY Jr. Islanders (blue) right on the goal line during the Mac’s AAA Midget semi-final game played at Max Bell Arena.
© J. Ashley Nixon


Semi-final at the Mac’s AAA Midget Tournament: New York Jr. Islanders versus Regina Pat Canadians

The Mac’s AAA Midget championship is settled. The result is in the books. Regina Pat Canadians won the final of the Male Division. But looking back over the photographs I took during the semi-final game, it became clear how close New York Jr Islanders got to a berth in the final at the Scotiabank Saddledome on New Year’s Day.

The goal that never was

It was a play in the second period when the Jr. Islanders were 1-0 up. Chris Mott fired in a pass from behind the net towards Anthony Bernado who skated into the blue paint. The Regina Pats goalie, Jared Thompson was momentarily cast away out left of the goal crease, creating a big opening between the pipes. Bernado got his stick on the puck nestled between the legs of the Regina defender, Jack Glen. The puck moved onto the line, then Glen and his teammate, Sebastian Eger simultaneously crossed their sticks, collectively intercepting further progress of the puck into the net. Chris Mott moved his arms up to celebrate, then held his head in gloved hands in the realization that there was no goal.

A score at that moment would have put the Jr. Islanders into a commanding 2-0 lead. But the hockey gods took the play another way; a third-period equalizer by Regina; two bouts of overtime and a sudden death goal. It was the Regina Pat Canadians heading for their final, and ultimately the Mac’s Midget Trophy for 2017-18.

Photos from the Mac’s Midget hockey games

Please follow this link to J. Ashley Nixon Communications and go to HOCKEY for more photographs from this and other games in the Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament.

Film clip

Please visit my Vimeo site for bonus footage (photo montages) of the goal that never was.


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Final photos @MacsTournament @RDOptimistChiefs @aaapatcanadians

Action from the final of the Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament between Regina Pat Canadians and Red Deer Optimist Chiefs played at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary.
© J. Ashley Nixon


Final (Male Division) at the Mac’s AAA Midget Tournament, Scotiabank Saddledome

The Regina Pat Canadians won the Male Division Championship at the 40th running of the Mac’s Midget AAA Hockey Tournament on New Year’s Day, 2018. They took the trophy with a 4-0 result over Red Deer Optimist Chiefs and improved on their final appearance in the 2014 tournament when they were runners-up to the Cariboo Cougars. Two goals were scored in the first period by Jaydon Dureau. Matthew Culling scored for the Pats in the second period and the game was sealed with a power-play goal by Chase Nameth in the final period.

Photos from the final

Follow this link to J. Ashley Nixon Communications and go to HOCKEY for prints and downloads of photographs from the final and other games in the Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament.

Film clips

Go to my Vimeo film site for Bonus footage (photo montages) of goals scored by Jason Dureau and Chase Nameth and the celebration of the Regina Pat Canadians on winning the championship.

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Hockey, Photography, Sports, Sports photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment