Game worn jersey authenticators and collectors have a new resource courtesy of the man who’s chronicled the careers of thousands of players–and shot the most famous hockey card of all time.
The National Hockey League has acquired the historic hockey photo collection of Steve Babineau, team photographer for the Boston Bruins. Babineau’s collection, which chronicles more than three decades of hockey history, coupled with Getty Images’ diverse NHL digital photo library, enriches the photographic imagery available through NHL Images.
Babineau’s collection of more than 225,000 images dates back to 1973 and records the careers of legendary current and former players, including Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Ray Bourque, Al MacInnis, Bobby Clarke, Mike Bossy, Marcel Dionne, Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios and Martin Brodeur. He has shot more than 1,700 NHL games in 35 years.
The Hockey News hired Babineau to photograph games of the World Hockey Association during the 1970s. He shot photographs for Topps and OPC hockey cards and for other publications, such as Hockey Digest. One of his most famous published photographs is shown on the Wayne Gretzky rookie card, produced by the Topps Company.
Babineau officially joined the Bruins as the team photographer in 1977, a position he now shares with his son, Brian.
“I feel honored that I have been able to photograph 35 years of the National Hockey League, which includes more than one third of the history of the Boston Bruins franchise,” said Babineau. “I hope that my photography will forever preserve the history of this great game, its players and memories for generations to come.”
Babineau’s collection marks the second photo library acquired by the NHL. The league attained images from former Montreal Canadiens team photographer Denis Brodeur in 2006 just before they were scheduled to be sold by Canada’s Classic Auctions.
Baseball card collectors may recall Babineau’s name. In 1980, he became a staff photographer for the Fleer Baseball Card Company, a position he held for 14 years.
“Mr. Babineau’s collection is a valuable addition to the NHL’s photo archive,” said Patti Fallick, Group Vice President, Media Operations & Planning. “He captured some of the greatest teams and players from the NHL’s modern era and his images will now be accessible to a wider audience.”
The entire Babineau collection will be made available through NHL Images and a selection of images are currently available at GettyImages.com.