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Reuters photographer Shaun Best passes.

Steve Russell - Staff Photographer

Shaun best
Shaun Best at the Turin Winter Games. Brian Snyder/Reuters

News photographers in Canada are a tight community; there are not many of us and when on assignments we spend a lot of time together. We spend a lot of time waiting before, during and after assignments. We are usually in tight pens or seats during an event and usually eat whenever we can together.

Our community was rocked this weekend with the sudden passing of Montreal Reuters photographer Shaun Best,44, on the eve of the Montreal Grand Prix. He suffered a massive Heart Attack on his way home after covering qualifying.

Shaun's work should be familiar to Toronto Star readers; he was an elite photographer who covered the world, especially sports for Reuters. He has hundreds of photos published on our pages.

The list of sporting events he has covered is impressive: The Masters, Stanley Cup play-offs, World Series, Super Bowls and the list could go on and on.

I remember the first time I met Shaun - or Buster, as he was called. I was in Montreal covering something and a bunch of photographers were getting together for a pint afterwards. Word was that Shaun, who wasn't covering the event, was just coming into town from somewhere and would join us. 

I was excited, I knew Shaun's work, I kept track of it on the wires comparing it to what the other wires filed from the same event. 

I discovered that night he was an even better person than photographer - something that was reinforced during time I would later spend around him over the next decade at Olympics, hockey rinks, on an election bus.

Many of the tributes to him on his Facebook page and on professional photography forums address his quality character over his outstanding photography.

I considered Shaun a mentor early in my career; I would corner him at events and pick his brain on everything from camera settings to where I could get the best perogies in his home town of Winnipeg.

I was always happy to see Shaun at the same assignment, although I knew I'd have to be on my toes or he would be on my sports pages.


Here are some of my favourites from Shaun Best's work.

Shaun was covering the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, he was to shoot game 6 Monday night. The NHL put out a press release today

Some photographers become know for a specific picture. With Shaun it seemed that the goaltender with the puck was his. He had a knack for timing that resulted in a couple of these pictures moving on the wire every year. Montreal Canadiens goalie Alex Auld makes a save on the Buffalo Sabres during the first period of their NHL pre-season hockey game in Montreal, September 30, 2010. 

Shaun, a Winnipeger wore a Jets ball cap on assignments and used the Jets logo on his facebook page. A hockey fan cheers at the corner of Portage and Main in downtown Winnipeg, after media reports of the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team moving to Winnipeg.

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (L) hits Montreal Canadiens Max Pacioretty into a glass stanchion during the second period of NHL hockey play in Montreal, March 8, 2011.

A Pittsburgh Penguins fan sits alone in the stands after the Penguins loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey final in Pittsburgh May 31, 2008. 

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby hoists the Stanley Cup after beating the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final hockey series in Detroit, Michigan, June 12, 2009.

Reuters trusted Shaun with big moments, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy jumps in the air following his team's 4-3 overtime win over the Washington Capitals in Washington, October 17, 2000. The win gave Roy his 448th victory, passing NHL goal tending legend Terry Sawchuk's record for all-time victories.

Shaun also was witness and documented some of the greatest moments in Canadian sport. Canadian golfer Mike Weir receives his green jacket from former champion Tiger Woods after Weir defeated Len Mattiace in a one hole playoff to win the 2003 Masters Championship at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta April 13, 2003.

Tiger Woods reacts on the 18th green after winning the 2005 Masters tournament on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff over Chris DiMarco, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 10, 2005. It was the fourth Masters win for Woods.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates his win over Andre Agassi of the U.S. in the finals of the Montreal Masters tennis tournament in Canada August 14, 2005. Nadal won the match 6-3 4-6 6-2.

Maria Sharapova of Russia walks across the court during her semi-final match against Kim Clijsters of Belgium at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows, New York, September 9, 2005. Clijsters defeated Sharapova 6-2 6-7 6-3.

Canada's Alexandre Despatie (bottom) and Arturo Miranda compete in the men's synchronised 3 meter springboard diving competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 13, 2008.

The Houston Astros celebrate beating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 to win the National League Championship baseball Series in St. Louis, Missouri October 19, 2005.

Toronto Maple Leafs Travis Green (39) collides with goaltender Corey Schwab during the first period of NHL action in Montreal, March 9, 2002.

Russia's Alexander Ovechkin blows a bubble during the team's practice at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Grand Forks, North Dakota, January 3, 2005. 

A young boy jumps to grab an icicle off a traffic signal bent over from the weight of ice, in Montreal January 8. The city of Montreal and many surrounding regions have declared a state of emergency and over a million Quebec households and businesses are without power.

Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire kiss while waiting in line to vote in Canada's federal election in the Montreal, May 2, 2011.

A young boy plays soccer at a water fountain in Montreal August 31, 2010.

Shaun's facebook has only one picture he took on it, this net on Lake Louise he shot in December 2010.


REUTERS has a Shaun Best slideshow up on their site as well









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I am sorry to hear about the passing of Shaun Best. I was a employee of Reuters some time ago. Reuters was like a family.

Brian Robinson

The last shot of the hockey net on lake louise is an absolute favourite of mine. I'm sure he will be deeply missed. The good die young. RIP Shaun, my condolences to his family, friends, and many coworkers.

Although I did not know Shaun personally, his work was stunning. We have lost a great talent at a tragically young age.

Well said, Steve. Shaun was a diamond from the day he walked into the Winnipeg Sun newsroom way back when. What a body of work. What a loss.

A talented man. Hope that his family and friends give him a sendoff that recognized his talent and legacy.

As a former Canadian news photographer, I've always admired Shaun's work. My condolences to the family at this sad loss.

Gosh, I'd at least like to know what happened.

I really like the way you can easily see the thoughts and feelings of his subjects - Auld's concentration as he follows the puck, Sid's elation with The Cup, Green's agony as he slides into the net, Chara's indifference as he slams Max Pac into the stanchion ...

nice tribute steve, ryan

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