Portnoy Photography
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Lew Portnoy Photography into the Hockey Hall of Fame

An acquisition made by the Hockey Hall of Fame in January of 1997 will help chronicle "missing years" in the history of hockey and the National Hockey League. As the relatively young sport of hockey continues to gain in popularity, the demand to document its history is overwhelming. The addition of St. Louis photographer Lewis Portnoy's collection, which includes approximately 40,000 color transparencies and 60,000 black and white negatives, highlights instants from hundreds of National Hockey League games played from 1969 to 1978.


The Portnoy collection will now account for almost one-fourth of the Hockey Hall of Fame's photo collection. Portions of the collection will be displayed in the Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario, and photos from the collection will be available for use in books, magazines and publications which chronicle the history of the sport.


"Lew captures something special in his images." Craig Campbell, assistant manager of the Hall of Fame Resource Centre & Acquisitions, said. "When you look at his photos you can see right into the players' eyes. The images have a quality that makes you feel like you can touch them."


Campbell said the unique techniques used by Portnoy captured moments unlike those found in any other photos. He added that finding a photo collection the magnitude of Portnoy's is rare. "We really stumbled upon it. We came across a photo of Garry Unger that had Lew's name stamped on the back." Campbell said. "We initiated contact and during the 1996 NHL Draft in St. Louis we met with Lew." He was more than impressed by what he found.


Campbell said Portnoy's collection not only chronicled the years of the first major NHL expansion, but included unique photos of some of the greatest players of that period in hockey, including Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and others. The pictures captured years when the boards around the ice remained free of advertisements.


The collection will be stored in the Hockey Hall of Fame, which is home to the Stanley Cup and represents all levels and all leagues of hockey including the National Hockey League. Some of the images will be displayed and all the photos will become available for use in publications that chronicle the history of hockey.


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