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

Another trophy - another great pictureAnother 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.

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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.

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

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Boxing Day v Panthers: classic Arena shotBoxing Day v Panthers: classic Arena shot
Boxing Day v Panthers: classic Arena shot

“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!

“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.

An extradordinary shot of Tim Wallace in rare fight actionAn extradordinary shot of Tim Wallace in rare fight action
An extradordinary shot of Tim Wallace in rare fight action

“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.

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“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.

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