NHL Photographer Snaps Stunning Heart-Shaped Shot of Stanley Cup Win

The Vegas Golden Knights celebrate winning the Stanley Cup
The Vegas Golden Knights celebrate winning the Stanley Cup, spontaneously forming into a heart shape while MVP Jonathan Marchessault looks up in ecstasy | Al Powers for ESPN

A photographer captured a stunning image of the Vegas Golden Knights shaped like a heart as the ice hockey team celebrated winning the Stanley Cup.

Al Powers tells PetaPixel that the sublime photo has received an emotional response — partly because of what the Knights mean to the city of Las Vegas.

“I can’t even say this is a dream shot because it’s so out of the realm of imagination it surpasses anything I can possibly dream up,” he says.

“I’m still in awe that it happened it all. It means so much to me because the team means so much to me, as a survivor of 1 October myself, I know what the team did for the city of Las Vegas, personally. They gave us hope and a distraction from pain that first season, they helped us get through it.”

On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of people attending a country music festival killing 60 people and wounding hundreds more.

The Knights, a new team that the city was excited about, were five days from playing their first-ever NHL game when the tragedy happened. Their debut turned into a tribute to the victims and the first responders — something they continued all season long.

“To get a heart shape image of the team that lifted up our city after a tragedy, the exact moment they win their first Stanley Cup, with the eventual Conn Smythe winner [MVP], Jonathan Marchessault, as the only player looking up, one of the original Misfits from that first season, AND he happens to be smack dab in the middle!” Powers says.

“There really aren’t any words for it. I look at it and still ask myself is this real? And I thank God that someone was able to catch this brief moment, it just happened to be me.”

Heart-Shaped Photo

The Golden Knights defeated the Florida Panthers in game five of the championship series on June 13 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to clinch North America’s oldest professional sports tropy: the Stanley Cup.

Remote camera
Powers’s remote camera hanging in the rafters of the T-Mobile arena.

Powers had set up two remote cameras in the rafters which fired every time he took a photo from his assigned position on the TV camera platform.

“There were a lot of remote camera images to cull through at the end of the night,” says the photographer. “In fact, I didn’t even see this image until 05:00.”

Powers says that he rarely gets any decent photos from the birdseye view cameras and the remote trigger often doesn’t work. In fact, the Sony Alpha 7R V that caught the fateful photo had failed earlier in the night and the photographer had to fix it during an intermission.

“I switched on the pocket wizard from my photo position and it was firing already without me doing anything,” he explains.

“That’s when I knew something was wrong with the remote, I just didn’t know which one. Luckily the kind rig worker (shout out to Matthew) at T-Mobile Arena was able to get me back up there at the first intermission to fix it.”

Remote camera

The photo has received thousands of likes on Powers’s Instagram where it also received passionate responses from the fans.

“It’s really quite overwhelming to see an emotional response to a frame that you captured. I love that it resonates with people, especially here in Vegas since the team means so much to the city and myself included,” he adds.

More of Powers’s work can be found on his website and Instagram.

Image credits:Al Powers for ESPN.