A lifetime behind the lens
Feb 10, 2020
Chances are if you attend a Fort McMurray Oil Barons hockey or Giants baseball game, you’ve seen Syncrude Inspection Advisor Dan Lines. Not on the ice or field, but on the sidelines snapping photos of the games.
“I’ve always been a hockey fan and played hardball in high school. I keep one eye open and see the play in progress,” says Dan, who has been photographing the Barons since 2007 and the Giants since they started in Fort McMurray. “I take about a thousand pictures a game.”
Many times his volunteer work helps bring these images back to the families of players who are not living in Fort McMurray.
“A lot of it is for the parents who can’t see their kids play – especially years ago when games were not available on TV or internet,” says Dan, a 36-year Syncrude employee.
Not only is he the team photographer, Dan is part of the Barons Board of Directors. He also billets some of the coaches in his own home, and provides photography for the United Way President’s Cup hockey game. While he enjoys photography, Dan dabbles in guitar as well. Some of his favourite photos involve musicians who have visited Fort McMurray including KISS, Paul Brandt and his favourite, Stompin’ Tom Connors.
“One thing that stands out is I got to photograph Stompin’ Tom Connors. I have been a huge fan of his since the ‘70s, so I was taking photos, singing and playing air guitar,” chuckles Dan. “The fiddle player was back up here a few months later and he told me that Tom talked about the picture-taking guy for the next three weeks, saying I knew the songs better than he did.”
“I was president of the bike club, I was with search and rescue for 11 years. I’ve always enjoyed volunteering up here,” he says.
Dan started with Syncrude on July 25, 1983. He enjoys telling the Fort McMurray story through photos.
“I’ve always said that if one of my pictures changes the way someone thinks about Fort McMurray, then I have done my job. I have enjoyed it out here, and if I can give something back – that is why I volunteer,” says Dan. “The city has given me so much and it is my turn to pay it back.”
With all of his community involvement, Dan is a recipient of Syncrude’s Good Neighbour volunteer grants. All employees and retirees who volunteer a minimum of 40 hours per year are eligible to apply.
Good Neighbours like Dan are what makes Fort McMurray a wonderful place to live.