Blog Post

Problem Solving and Hockey Photography

I’ve written about applying development-like problem solving to realms outside my day job before and another interesting case of that came up for me this week.

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last couple days at MSU’s Munn Arena for the annual MSU Pro Camp, where a bunch of former Spartans and affiliated players come back to East Lansing to get ready for their upcoming professional seasons.  It’s open to the public so I go on down and take photos for DetroitHockey.Net.

Once those photos are edited, I tag them with the player they’re of.  That’s easy when it’s someone like Justin Abdelkader or Drew Miller, who I’m familiar with, but a lot of these guys haven’t made the NHL yet or play in organizations I don’t see much.  Many wear visors so their faces are obscured.  They’re all wearing un-numbered MSU practice jerseys.  How do you tell who is who?

Some of those are still easy.  The NHL added numbers to the front of their helmets a couple years ago and there’s a guy in an Oilers helmet with #2 on it…  Well that’s Jeff Petry.  Boston #6 is Corey Potter.

Who’s this guy with a bunch of ads on his pants and helmet?  Oh, that must be Colton Fritter, who’s been playing in Europe where they have ads on their equipment.

The guy in New York Rangers pants but a helmet from the AHL’s Texas Stars?  Oh, Chris Mueller played for Texas last year and just signed with the Rangers as a free agent.

So it’s a matter of looking at the equipment and working through possible combinations.  At least until something really weird comes up.

So there’s a guy in Rockford IceHogs gear.  Okay, Jared Nightingale played for the IceHogs last season, no big deal.  Oh, wait, there are two guys in Rockford gear.  Nightingale is the only player listed as a participant who played there.  What’s happening here?

Well, sometimes non-Spartans tag along and they rarely get mentioned in the promotional material.  So while I thought equipment was enough, I didn’t know that Brett Skinner was there wearing the same gear as Nightingale.  Thankfully, Skinner is left-handed and Nightingale is a righty, so there’s an identifying trait there.

Hardly anything groundbreaking but I thought it was a fun kind of puzzle that I don’t get to try to solve very often.

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