13:50 PM

Our Favorite Hershey Bears Photos from 2023

Photographers reflect on images from the past year

It is often said a picture is worth a thousand words.

If that is the case, then what can you say about these pictures of the Hershey Bears from 2023? 

In the past year, our team photographers captured over a half-million moments, amounting to terabytes upon terabytes of digital files, including close to 13,000 images from an unforgettable night in late June in the California desert.

Our photographers captured so many special moments, we asked them to pick some of their favorite photos from the 2023 calendar year to reflect on what a special 365 days it was for the Hershey Bears.

Photography is my first love, and while I'm typically shooting video most game nights, I take every chance to pick up a still camera to capture photos.

From Chris Bourque's jersey retirement night in January to shooting from the rafters of GIANT Center the last few weeks, my favorite photo from the past year might just be from Opening Night of the 2023-24 season. As Garrett Pilon waved to the crowd wearing a Bears jersey with his Belleville Senators pants and socks, I remember thinking how special this was in the moment. 

I spent the morning before walking with Pilon around the GIANT Center concourse, showing him all of the updated images placed around the building from the magical run to the Calder Cup that the 2022-23 Bears took. He was now a visitor in a building he had called home for the past five years. We shared some laughs, tears, and special moments reflecting on those few amazing nights in June. Just over 24 hours later, Pilon waved to a roaring crowd, wearing his former team's jersey one final time to receive his Calder Cup ring. 

I've been lucky enough to witness some pretty amazing moments in Bears history, but the sound of Bears fans cheering for “Peels” one more time will stick with me forever.

- Kyle Mace, Hershey Bears Social Media Content Creator

Being a photographer is all about capturing moments.

Whether it’s the hugs and high-fives after a goal or goofing around during sewer ball, hockey is all about those moments: the first goals, the fights, the hat tricks, the OT-winners that ultimately lead to raising of the Cup.

Getting to look back at those authentic moments is what makes being a sports photographer so cool. It’s incredibly moving to see these images and know that they’ll live on in history as the moment that Hershey won their 12th Calder Cup. 

- Tori Hartman, Hershey Bears Team Photographer

I have been a photographer for over eight years now. Over that time, I have learned that without a doubt, photographing sports is the most incredible, difficult, stressful, and rewarding subject to shoot.

There are no re-dos.

You can't kindly ask Hunter Shepard to send the puck back and make that impossible save one more time because you were slightly out of focus.

Mike Vecchione may roar every game, but try telling him to remember mid-game to hit the “roar pose” in the perfect spot so the perfect picture can be captured.

You have one moment to capture; odds are you won't know the moment is coming. But how exhilarating is that? 

It was an honor to capture the 2023 playoff run for the Bears. Each moment was unpredictable, and I may have watched each game through a viewfinder, but the images that I captured from those weeks are by far some of my favorites. Stopping a moment in time like Coachella Valley's goalie staring a puck down as it enters the net with Bears players already skating off to celebrate is forever frozen.

Behind the lens is just me, the photographer who now associates specific photos with the smell of champagne or the ABBA song “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight).” I can't look at the photos I took of the celebration moments after the overtime-winning goal was scored without remembering the panic I felt as Mason Morelli's dad tackled me - this after he spent the entire game pacing behind my setup because he couldn't sit still. 

My background in photography isn't sports. This was something I took up only a few years ago. My day job is capturing weddings. But this has been so wildly beautiful to experience. I never thought seeing a photo of mine blown up on a wall triple my size was possible. Now my photos decorate GIANT Center. Those memories are memorialized forever. One day I get to bring my kids to a game and not only tell them about that insane playoff run, but show them the photos I took experiencing it.

- Katie Fri, Hershey Bears Photographer

 I shot my first period of hockey in May, in the midst of what became the Bears’ historic run to a 12th Calder Cup.

Looking back on these photos fills me with gratitude, both for the opportunity to have been part of the journey and for the ability to see so many of these players achieving success at the next level. These moments - from the end of last season to now - show heart, passion, personality, and grit. To me, that’s what being a Hershey Bear is all about.

- Casey Saussaman, Hershey Bears Marketing Coordinator

View more Bears photography and additional content by following the team's Instagram account, @thehersheybears.