© 2013 mJoyPhoto UND wins and the teams shake hands at Center Ice

Outdoor Hockey!

I have slacked a bit on posting but have been busy! I wanted to share something that I was privileged enough to photograph. This post has a few photos 😉

Mutual of Omaha’s “Battles On Ice”

This was an event held on February 9th 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska at the TD Ameritrade Ball Park which is the home of the college world series. It as a day of outdoor hockey! First game was a USHL game (Omaha Lancers vs Lincoln Stars) and then following was a WCHA matchup (UND vs UNO).

I travelled to Omaha, NE on Friday to meet with the manager of the ball park to get a sneak peak at the event a day before it happened.

I wasn’t allowed to go up onto the big stadium lights but got as high as they would let me! Later that night I was invited to photograph the UNO/UND game at Century Link Center. This would be my first time photographing a NCAA hockey game but definitely not my first time photographing these players. The Fargo Force were represented quite well with these two teams! It was great to see some familiar faces and numbers.

A few pics from The Century Link Center:

Century Link from the catwalk

Zane Gothberg – From above

From the corner

UND went on to win that game! I have always wanted to get  a shot from above and I am happy I got to get a couple of Zane (Former Fargo Force goalie)

Got back to the hotel that night and did what almost any photographer would do… Stopped at the first fast food restaurant I could so I could get back and start editing to get the photos to the media outlets etc. Sat in the hot tub and then went to bed sifting through tv channels looking for one I recognized. (why can’t there be a universal numbering system with cable?)

Batteries charging, I woke up Saturday morning ready for the long day…

I ate some breakfast and just sat and relaxed in the room while I cleared some memory cards off and cleaned my lenses. 10am came and it was time to get to the ball park! The front desk person told me to stay warm out there, its cold… that will make anyone from Fargo laugh a little as we walk out into 40* weather.

Of course I knew where I had to go first! The USHL Officials room!

These group of guys are the people us photographers in the USHL get to know really well! Even more so than the players sometimes.

USHL officials were wearing special sweaters for the game and I got to shoot some behind the scenes of the locker-room.

USHL Officials before the outdoor game

Just about to exit to the outdoor ice

The game play was great. USHL teams are always at 100% and I love shooting this league! Omaha beat the Lincoln Stars that day and this is by far one of the best rivalries in the league with them being located so close to each other and it was great to photograph it.

Gage Hough – scores 1 of his 2 goals that day!

Alex Lyon was great in net for the Lancers

Official grabbing the puck off of the melting ice

Omaha Lancer team saluting their home crowd with a Win

At the end of that 3rd period the ice was looking pretty bad! The sun was beating down on the ice and the paint was bleeding through as skates went over the blue line. The UND vs UNO game was now in question and as I followed the teams inside I could see the WCHA officials and coaches deciding what to do. The decision was to postpone the WCHA game by around 2 hrs.

I got to sit around and talk with some good photography friends. Brandon Anderson and Jeff White were there to photograph their team. ( Lincoln Stars) I also got to know an up and comer Gianna Massa. Her brother is a goalie for UNO and she is on her way to becoming a great photojournalist.

The time came around and we walked out to a LOT more green and white in the seats!

UND fans made the trip to support their team

The game started! I was shooting a WCHA game underneath baseball stadium lights!

UND vs UNO – Underneath the lights

Get ready for some images… I have a lot to share!

Zane Gothberg blocks a shot and the puck rolls off his shoulder

Deflection for the goal!

Skating back to the bench after his goal

Game action was fast and fun to capture

UND Coach Hakstol

UNO team bench… lots of USHL alum in this pic!

UND wins and the teams shake hands at Center Ice


I got to see some friends and photograph them on ice again. It was an amazing experience and most of all to capture the moments for these players and refs and coaches so they can remember this night in Omaha, NE.


***now for the camera nerds***

Shooting in the cold conditions always calls for BATTERIES! I had fully charged batteries and backup batteries for my Nikon D4 and Nikon D700.

You will see from the images that most of my shots were from next to the UND bench. Great spot for shooting but not safe! Lots of pucks and skates getting close! But I can not describe whats its like being that close and feeling the ice and cold from the speed of the game.

Most of the shots are done with a Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8 and a Nikkor 300mm 2.8. With a few wide angle shots with the Nikkor 24-70 2.8 and a Tokina 11-16 2.8.

Many of you who follow me and know me know that I do not shoot very many frames. This day I did shoot a bit more than usual.


Long list of thank you and mentions so please please take notice because of a lot of work went into this event!

-Omaha Sports Commission, USHL, TD Ameritrade Park, MECA, UND, UNO, Omaha Lancers, Lincoln Stars, and of course I want to thank Whitney Baumgartner of the Fargo Force for helping make this possible for me to photograph. She set it in motion and it turned into something great!

Also please check out these links!

Because I shot primarily Omaha Lancers during the USHL game… Here is Brandon Anderson’s site for the Stars game shots! – BA Photos

And show some love to our fb pages by liking them!

mJoy Photography – Mitch Highman (Me)

BA Photos – Brandon Anderson (Lincoln Stars)

Jeff White -(Lincoln Stars)





  1. Chris
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm | #

    Awesome pictures and what a weekend it was!


    And I Live In Omaha, But I Loved The Whole Weekend & The Great Show That Omaha & THE LANCERS & LINCOLN & UNO & MY BELOVED UND Put On!!

  2. Dee
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm | #

    Finally get to see the jackets the coaches were wearing! Love the old-school look! Awesome photos!

  3. Bri Gefroh
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 2:57 am | #

    Very cool! I didn’t get to go to the games in Omaha, but your pictures help me to see what it was like to be there. I love the photos that emphasize the baseball stadium lighting. Okay, I love them all, but those especially.

    Nice job!

  4. Jeff White
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm | #

    Awesome job Mitch, had a great time all day talking with you, Brandon & Gianna. Can’t wait to do it again sometime.!