Showing posts with label Tim Hennessey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tim Hennessey. Show all posts

Friday, December 28, 2012

One Goal; Follow up interview with Allison Davis O'Keefe

Allison Davis O’Keefe – One Goal
Allison Davis O’Keefe author of the book One Goal, agreed to answer a few questions I had about her amazing book. Here what Allison had to say about the book, her answers will also answer a few questions you might have had about the book.

Recently, I listened to the interview you did with Tim Hennessey on 96.1 between periods of a Michigan Tech and UND hockey game. You had some interesting points that I would like to expand on.
The first question I would like to ask you is; how hard was it to gain access to the Fighting Sioux hockey team and the coaching staff?  
It was hard. I am not from this community so I honestly didn’t realize how private the team can be.  They are a tight-knit group, a band of brothers, if you will, and they protect one another.  Hockey players also have many superstitions – ‘routine’ they will call it – and anything or anybody who challenges the norm is greeted with healthy suspicion.
Was it hard to convince Dave Hakstol to let you photograph him and his team?
 Yes. I think Coach Hakstol is fiercely protective of his team and he didn’t want anything to distract them from their goal.  Coach Hakstol is a naturally private person and I think that instinct extends to his team.  I, like his players, had to gain his trust and confidence; the doors weren’t flung open, even after he had agreed to allow the project to move forward.
How long did it take to get that in?
I have been asking Coach Hakstol to photograph the team in one way or another for a number of years. I think he finally agreed because it was to be the last year of the Fighting Sioux. But frankly, the book is about much more than that.
Was there ever time the head coach said, not today?
There was never a time when he said ‘not today’, no.  The agreement was open access and the team gradually accepted that.  As a photojournalist who has covered Capitol Hill and presidential campaigns, you know when to put the camera down and build a relationship, build trust, and when you absolutely can’t miss the shot.  I knew when not attend a meeting and he knew, for the most part, that I was there. I tried to use a level of discretion in the process while still capturing every aspect of team life.
I have heard people make comments about you being related to head coach via marriage and that was the reason you were able to gain access, but that’s not true?  
Coach Hakstol is married to my husband’s cousin – and, honestly, I think all that gained me was the ability to broach the subject of this project with him.  I had to earn his trust, his team’s trust, and the staff’s trust.  Without that, I would have been shut out and shut down two games into the season.  And I made it clear from the beginning that this is a work of photojournalism; I’d shoot what I saw with no interference.  To his credit, Coach Hakstol was true to that agreement. Not once did he ask to see the pictures before they were published.  And he didn’t see the final book until after it was off the printing press and on sale.
How were you received by the players?
At first the players were confused as to why I was there all the time.
There were whispers of ‘who is this person’ and ‘why is she crouched on the ground, taking photos while we board the bus’? They had questions.
I remember at an away game in Madison early in the season, Jason Gregoire turned as he loaded his bag on the team bus and said, “What are you doing here?”
But over time they all got used to it, and would make fun of me, or joke about getting ‘face time’.
I was also pregnant with my daughter during the entire season so toward the end it was a little comical watching me walk on the ice after the Final Five or the regional NCAA tournament.
It got harder to get up and down and move quickly with two cameras, a bag of lenses; some of the guys would help me up and wonder aloud if it was doctor-approved for a pregnant woman to walk on the ice.
How were you received by the UND assistant coaches?
Coach Jackson is hilarious – at one of the Thursday night steak dinners I mentioned how much I enjoyed the HBO series leading up to the Winter Classic and how much I admired the access they got.
Jackson picked up on my not-too-subtle hint and said, “Alli, what do you want? Let’s do it.”
I was busted. They all knew why I had brought it up (keep in mind I had to make sure to watch SportsCenter just to know what the heck they were always talking about) but from that point forward, I didn’t really ask to go in the locker room; I just did.
I one thing I noticed is that you did a real good job of showing the different sides of Coach Hakstol; how did that play out?
Time. It is just true that with any extended photography/documentary project, it takes time to show various sides of a person. I slowly would ask for a little more – “how about I start the day at your house and go to work with you.” But he didn’t think anyone would want to see that stuff so at first he thought it was a little weird. There is a photo that is not in the book of him driving to work while holding a mug of coffee. Despite numerous travel-mug-gifts, he still always drives to work with a mug of coffee. I don’t even think it fits in the cup holder. But that is routine. And I was interested in things like that. I think everyone sees a very stoic serious Coach – which is accurate – but for someone who is arguably a community leader and who feels a responsibility to the town that his team represents there is a lot more going on behind the scenes.
What was your impression of the 2010-11 season?
Expectations and pressure.  It seems the Fighting Sioux are always expected to win and win big but this season in particular came with an elevated level of destiny. And I can’t truly imagine what that must feel like.  They put pressure on themselves and I do think they had fun together that season but I would say that one of the lessons learned that year was that there is a value in recognizing your accomplishments along the way. At a recent UND Fan Luncheon, Coach Hakstol, in speaking about the book, said that in ten years he would bring the 2010-2011 team together for a reunion. And they would truly relish in all of their personal and professional accomplishments – something, perhaps, they didn’t do enough of in the moment.  One of the things that I think is lost in coverage of Coach Hakstol is his strong influence on these ‘young men’ as he calls them. He may have to be a disciplinarian and a coach but he truly has an effect on their lives. And Coach Hakstol knows that it is more important to be a good human being, a good man, in life than it is to focus on wins and losses.
Impression of the UND fan base and Ralph Englestad Arena?
The saying, you won’t believe it until you see it is never more true than at the Ralph Englestad Arena. I would go back to New York, hang out with my friends, meet a photo editor, and try to describe what I was trying to accomplish with this project and I genuinely couldn’t find the words.
You did a good job reflecting on the seniors on the 2010-11 Fighting Sioux hockey team; what was your impression of the class of 2011? Who stuck the most of the class?
I will attempt to answer this without sounding too sentimental – the seniors are simply a great group of guys.  You will not meet someone who works harder, is more humble, and kind than Chay Genoway. And the group that started together and went all four years on the team together were like true brothers.
Who were the characters on the team that stuck out for you?
Brad Malone is a character – there was always something happening with him. I think Brent Davidson grew so much as a player that year. That was cool to watch. I went with Jake Marto and Chay Genoway when they volunteered at the Grand Forks Senior Center. They really felt like a part of the community and it was humbling to see how well they were received.  That was a unique bunch – a great team – and I truly enjoyed getting to know each of them as individuals.
What happened to the pictures that didn’t make it into the book?
There are a number of images that I really like that didn’t make it into the book. I will likely put some on my website, The other thing that didn’t make it into the book was a lot of the content from my interviews with Coach Hakstol. We sat down a number of times over the course of the season and afterward. Those interviews are audio-only and I would like to share them in some way. The two most telling are the ones from the day after the Frozen Four loss and the one we did the following season.
Is there any way that you will do a second book? 
No, it is unlikely that there will be a second book.  This was a one-shot chance.
Is there plans for a follow book on another UND hockey team? Or another school?
No, I have no plans to do this with another hockey team. I hope that documenting the 2010-2011 season opened the door for others to document UND hockey. Peter Bottoni, Matt Schill and the team working on “Through These Doors” is fantastic.
I would like to thank Allison Davis O’Keefe for taking the time to answer my questions. Make sure to check out her book “One Goal” because it’s worth every penny.

Originally posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine.
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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Tale of two worlds

Last night, after the game, UND women’s head hockey coach head Brian Idalski looked less than pleased and even a bit agitated – his team won on the right side of a 3-2 victory against Division I newcomer RIT.

Words like lethargic and sloppy were uttered by the UND coach during the postgame press conference.

I made the comment to the women’s SID after the media scrum that it would be fun to see today’s pregame skate. I am sure it wasn’t all fun and games and there probably wasn’t any of coaching staffs vehicles parked at center ice today at the REA before the pre-game skate.

But I digress.

Idalski’s hockey team in also on an impressive six game winning streak including sweeps against conference foe’s UMD and BSU.

Yet there are grounds for concern. There are still minor things that need to be fixed going forward. I have seen some of the mistakes that the team was making earlier in the season not happen as much on the ice the past two games.

Sitting in the press box I was entertained by an exciting game of hockey that went down to the wire – with the home team coming out with the win. In the closing seconds of the game the Tigers came very close to tying the game as a shot hit flush off of the right post of the UND goal with the goaltenders moving to her left.

Listening to UND men’s head coach Dave last night during the postgame with Radio personality Tim Hennessey, I didn’t’ have to watch a video or be there in person to know that he was less than pleased with the results of last night’s game. Hakstol’s team did everything they had to do to win; except score enough goals to win.That’s not going to comfort anyone including the head coach – but it’s not time to call for the head coaches head either.

Personally, based on this team’s history, I am not all that concerned about their results so far to date. Especially with the teams that they’ve played to date – UND has played four out five series against teams that are nationally ranked and that have winning records. So far in 13 games, UND has only played against two teams that don’t have a winning record UAA and UMD and both of those teams aren’t easy draws as well.

These guys are winners and take their job very seriously – both coaches’ teams are very close to turning the corner and putting an 8-1 or 9-2 whooping on someone.

There are some things to remember going forward. No team has ever won a national title in November, December, January and February. Seasons are a body of work and national rankings and the pairwise rankings mean nothing right now. The season is a body of work and the head coach will have this team ready to play.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Check out this post... Stupidity at its best.

Grand Forks, North DakotaImage by afiler via FlickrIf you don't read the webpage GPL aka Gopher Puck Live, you're not missing much. Check out this nugget from David Handler aka Handyman, if I am not mistaken he was the guy that used to sell the John Waibel factor shirts as well.

Just for the record no one that I know speaks like this. Not the crowd that I associate with. NO ONE. I do not know anyone  that uses that type of language. Wow!!! I guess we must be a bunch of hicks and losers up here in Grand Forks, ND? I wonder what Handyman thinks about the people that live in Moorhead and East Grand Forks, MN?
Handy Man, Gopher Puck Live --- Well they hate the Minnesota chant because the hicks can't spell. They sure can spit when they talk though and get that "derr shucks what ya talkin bout dere" look on their face when you ask them a question. (see: Goon)

Grand Forks, the only place I saw a pregnant waitress smoking and doing shots. (no lie) Most worthless piece of crap town in the world. I would sooner spend a week in Gitmo than ever go back there. The collected amount of missing chromosomes boggles the mind. The two days I spent there was the longest year of my life...Amsoil Arena >>>>> The Big Puke in the Prairie!

I hate everything about that state and its fans. Their idiotic conspiracy theories (like Adam Hauser, the Godfearing one, doing the neckslice to the Sioux bench...thanks Tim Hennessey stop drinking your namesake during games your full on d-bag) their hypocritical bs and their goontastic squad. Remember folks, the Bina hit was criminal, the other 10k times a Fighting Goon does it though is just hardnosed hockey! Also remember, winning the McNaughton doesn't matter it is all about the National Title...unless the Sioux win the McNaughton then it matters. (see also: Final Five) And finally, remember that Doug Woog was a choker because he never won the big one, Hak though is the best coach in college hockey...well he is when half the fan base isn't calling for him to be fired. But hey, they at least have Holy Cross to hang their hats on since they piss down their leg in the big game now.

I can't wait until they are gone...let them languish in the Noone Cares Hockey Conference with Denver and their 6 fans.
Just for the record and last time I checked, most of Minnesota is rural, except for the "Metro Area" and a few other cities like Duluth and Rochester, meaning the state of Minnesota resembles North Dakota except the state of Minnesota has more trees.

Most of the people Handyman is insulting in North Dakota resemble the people from the great(er) state of Minnesota that is supposed to be heads and tails above the state of North Dakota.

I guess there will be a few of us as that are going to be happy as well that we don't have to deal with moronic and  pompous jerks like this buffoon/clown and I doubt many of the fans of the new NCHC will make as many classless statements like this, I am sure there will be a few.

Don't like Grand Forks don't come here

Don't get me wrong I know many good Gopher fans and I am friends with many cool Gopher fans but this week seems to bring the bads one up from the bottom of the lagoon. Also, if Grand Forks is such a bad place to visit stay home, watch the game on TV. Let your better fans come up here and enjoy the game with us.

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