The camera abruptly zoomed in on Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's face, so close that you could see the tears that hadn't yet dropped out of the bottom of his eyelids. This was the picture of a man, not just a coach, dealing with the stark reality of life and death amidst the whirlwind of an NHL season.
Clint Reif, an unheralded member of the Blackhawks family as their assistant equipment manager, was found dead in his home Sunday morning. He was 34 years old.
Earlier in the week Reif was doing what he loved to do, preparing the equipment, the jerseys, pants, socks, skates, everything, alone at United Center while the Blackhawks attended a season-ticket holder function at Navy Pier.
The EPIX cameras were with Reif while he worked. He dished on players, providing some insight into the inner workings of the Blackhawks and the personalities that made work never feel like work.
Then Reif was suddenly gone, so Quenneville had to stand in front of the media and talk about his loss prior to Chicago's game Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. His eyes welled up while he stood at the podium. He was a picture of shock and sadness.