Shooting with NHL Pro Hockey Player Aaron Ekblad


A quick post about taking risks and being open minded.

Pursuing new opportunities and staying open minded with the work I do, I entertain as many crazy ideas as come my way. I recently received a call from a magazine creative director, who I know is quite brilliant from prior shoots and experiences, asking me if I’d be interested in shooting a professional hockey player as a cowboy for the cover and an inside feature for the premier launch issue of a new magazine.

He had admired my series of photos and video “ The West” and knew I was shooting an advertising campaign for a well known cigarette brand out in the west.

I suggested he give me a couple of days to come up with some ideas and asked if he could send me a photo of the player. A few minutes later, I received a shot of Aaron Ekblad, a defencemen for the Florida Panthers Hockey Team.

A good looking guy for sure…

But it takes more then that to be comfortable posing in front of a camera… Needless to say, Aaron was a fantastic model.


I sourced a fantastic location, “Livestock for Reel”. Dennis, the proprietor and western guru, had provided horses for another fashion shoot I had done and I remembered he was the real deal! To say he had everything we needed for our shoot would be an understatement. On site and set up are a western town, a full blown saloon, mules, horses, barns, farm animals, stage coaches, every imaginable western prop, and a couple of camels for good measure…

Still my concern, having found a great location was can I get a hockey player to be a fashion model… Would he be open to hair & make up, playing dress up and putting himself out there in front of my camera and crew?

The shoot was on and I have to say I think Aaron could definitely have a second career as a model if he ever decides to get out of hockey.

He was open to working with everyone and every idea. He even stood on top of bails of hay loaded on top of an old truck for a few shots, putting himself at risk if something unexpected happened while his manager urged us to get this shot quickly.

A great experience, definitely a large production requiring a lot of planning and our A team all the way around.

Please check out the shots and the behind the scenes video and let me know what you think!

George Kamper