Possessing a remarkable breadth of experience, Lori Bolliger’s hockey resume covers a diverse number of leagues and associations, providing a series of high quality visuals commemorating numerous events and milestones. Having enjoyed the opportunity to immortalize the modern greats of the game through her lens, the results reflect a sincerity and profound passion for the game.
As a long-time recreational player, Bolliger’s competitive skill set allows for a unique visual approach with regards to her craft. Able to appreciate the talent gracing the ice, the acumen acquired from years of her own hockey odyssey allowed many opportunities to prepare for the perfect shot, perfectly capturing a glorious moment.
“Since graduating, I have photographed women’s hockey for Team Canada, the PHF, PWHPA, OWHL, PWHL, plus the Toronto Furies of the CWHL. Most recently, the Etobicoke Jr. Dolphins U22 Elite and the Toronto 6ix as their official team photographer.
The exciting advantage to photographing a sport you already love is that it helps make you a better photographer; you are better able to read plays. You can anticipate where the next game-winning shot is going to comer from or when to prepare a close-up on the goalie for an epic save.”
While the rink holds a place of prominence for Bolliger during the winter months, the offsason allows for a personal, yet highly creative, pursuit. Representing an essential facet to her expanding portfolio, a highly relaxing outlet in the beauty of nature allows for a solitude filled with ethereal serenity. Equal parts relaxation and spiritual, there is a fascinating element of purity in capturing the essence of nature.
“My nature photography grounds me, as nature inherently tends to do. It gives me a chance to slow down, observe and be creative. I do not have as much time for it these days but when I do, I relish it! I do not have a particular area or region where I like to photograph nature. It is so relaxing.”
Belonging to a sensational sorority of highly talented female sporting photographers, including Kate Frese, Heather Pollock, Candice Ward and Melissa Wade, among others, Bolliger’s body of work enhances an empowering era for women in sport. As the last decade has seen a significant increase in the important conversation of sporting equality, Bolliger’s visuals go beyond telling a story, it opens a window into a wonderful world.
With a proud emphasis on photographing the women of ice hockey as her raison d’etre, the growing presence at the rink provides a heightened sense of purpose. Hoping that the landscape of professional sports shall translate into more than a living wage for its wondrous women, Bolliger finds tremendous inspiration in the combination of character and dedication that has long encompassed women’s ice hockey.
“As my sports photography career has evolved, I chose to focus on women in sport, specifically women’s hockey. To raise awareness for the sport and help elevate it to the level commanded by the incredible talent, effort, and determination of the players and staff.
My hope is that, one day, professional hockey will be a fully viable career for women. Great progress has been made, yet there is still work to be done to support these inspiring and dedicated women at all levels.”
As commitments with the Etobicoke Jr Dolphins and Toronto 6ix comprised the majority of Bolliger’s creative pursuits this past season, her observations saw many unique parallels emerge. From the outset, the admirable display of commitment from both talented rosters proved highly uplifting. While each team represents a different stage in the path of a player’s career, Bolliger noticed the exceptional team cultures in place, representing a constant source of motivation in her own creative endeavors.
Just as notable, the Dolphins and 6ix both possess a proud Team Canada connection. The 2022 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships saw six sensational Dolphins wear the Maple Leaf in a golden effort. Avi Adam, Reichen Kirchmair, Sarah MacEachern, Mari Pietersen, Alyssa Regalado and Mckenna Van Gelder made history together, as it marked the first time in event lore that six players from the same roster suited up for Canada.
With regards to the 6ix, the most notable alumnae belong to the front office, including the likes of co-owner Angela James, team president Sami Jo Small and head coach Geraldine Heaney. Following in their footsteps, a multitude of current 6ix competitors have also represented Canada in IIHF play. Such a distinguished group includes Elaine Chuli, Lindsay Eastwood, Kati Tabin, Saroya Tinker, Daryl Watts, Breanne Wilson-Bennett and Taylor Woods.
Jubilant at the privilege of observing both teams enjoy the sensational summit of championships, representing a major milestone in Bolliger’s career, she holds admiration for their combination of talent and work ethic. Undoubtedly, the pair of dream seasons assembled by these highly successful teams are worthy of a place of relevance in Canadian hockey lore, poised to be a benchmark for future glories.
“I find both levels have the same passion. The passion, dedication, skill and talent for hockey is evident at every level I photograph. I have such an appreciation for the time and effort these athletes invest in their sport on and off the ice. Many hours are spent in the gym working out, on the ice doing skills training and team practices, and on the bus travelling to and from out-of-town games.
For me, I felt a similar thrill photographing the Etobicoke Jr Dolphins winning the provincial championship last season as I did photographing the Toronto 6ix winning the Isobel Cup this spring. Achievement is important and meaningful at every level, and the excitement and energy from both teams as they achieved their highest respective accomplishment felt very similar.
I feel honoured to be able to help capture and preserve those moments in each teams’ histories. Working with both the Jr Dolphins and Toronto 6ix, I enjoy not only the passion these women have for their sport but also the sense of teamwork and collaboration. The “all for one” attitude is contagious. Plus, being around the coaches, working alongside the other team staff and interacting with the players’ families has the same “all for one ” vibe. It is such a positive environment to work in!”
Among all the achievements over the last couple of seasons, one of the most remarkable took Bolliger to Tempe, Arizona for the Isobel Cup Finals between the 6ix and the Minnesota Whitecaps. Taking place at Mullet Arena, home of the Coyotes, signifying the first PHF championship contested on NHL ice, the result was a fascinating brush with history.
With the 6ix prevailing in overtime, Tereza Vanisova becoming the first European player to score a Cup clinching goal, the exciting summit in franchise history proved highly satisfying for Bolliger. The thrill of being on-hand to photograph the magic of the 6ix becoming the first Canadian based team to win the fabled Cup held its own rewards. Alongside the roster for the entire week in Arizona, a sense of belonging emanated, providing a heartwarming acknowledgement of her valuable presence.
Having chronicled the ebbs and flows of the triumphant Cup season, part of the journey from opening day to the championship rally, certainly possessing an emotional investment, Bolliger’s talent as a visual storyteller for the 6ix held an essential place in this unfolding narrative. Providing superlative work in all facets of the game, her creative contributions capture magical moments on ice which hold a place in the hearts and minds of sporting enthusiasts.
“In a word, “extraordinary”! Witnessing exceptional hockey between two highly-skilled teams that went into a nail-biting overtime and a final game-winning goal, followed by the sudden outburst of emotion, celebratory chaos and excitement was an incredible experience! It is really hard to describe.
To a degree, it was stressful. The players’ job was to win; my job was to capture the essence of everything going on in a meaningful way that will leave a lasting legacy for the team, and for Canadian women’s hockey! I certainly felt the weight of that responsibility, and also the honour of being entrusted with the job. I am so grateful for the opportunity. And thankful for all of the people who have supported me along the way.
Surprisingly, one of my favourite parts of the experience was travelling with the team and living in their world for the days leading up to the championship game. I photographed the behind-the-scenes of the practices, community events, and the morning skate the day of the game.
It was special to see, feel, and capture the culmination of all of their hard work, shared vested interest in attaining their goal, and then the ongoing exuberant celebrations acknowledging their accomplishment. Again, it was extraordinary.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated “