Maple Ridge coach behind ‘The Michigan’ reflects on lacrosse-style goal’s debut in the NHL

The Michigan has made it to the NHL decades after he used it in the NCAA playoffs

A goal known as “The Michigan” has made it to the NHL, and the Maple Ridge coach who scored the original lacrosse-style goal is taking some humble bows.

Mike Legg scored one of the most famous goals in hockey history, when he deftly plucked the puck up off the ice and onto his stick blade, then stuffed it into the top of the net. It was a huge goal en route to his team’s NCAA championship 23 years ago.

“That was an unbelievable goal by Mike Legg,” said the stunned announcer of the game at the time.

Nobody had seen anything like it, but now, it’s turning up again.

Thursday night, Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes scored that same goal against the Carolina Hurricanes.

In the same week, Vancouver Canucks prospect Nils Hoglander got one too, while playing professional hockey in Sweden.

Legg said the latter in particular was a beauty, with Hoglander first banking it off the back of the net to beat the defender.

“I love seeing guys try it and doing it,” said Legg.

He doesn’t claim to have invented the move. Legg was playing university hockey, and on the ice with pro player in Billy Armstrong who was in the New Jersey Devils system. Legg was fascinated to see him making the move.

“I didn’t have the nerve to go talk to him, but I just watched him.”

Soon Legg had done it a million times, before and after practices with the University of Michigan.

After one practice his coach, the legendary Red Berenson, green lighted the move with a simple “Why don’t you do that in a game,” as he left the ice. Otherwise, Legg likely never would have tried the unorthodox manoeuvre.

In the 1996 NCAA tournament, against the University of Minnesota, with his team down 2-0, getting out-shot, and his linemate John Madden just tackled in the corner, Legg took the puck behind the net, and got his chance.

“I had practised it so much… I was just happy to be able to complete something I had practiced,” he said.

His bench went crazy. It was a deflating goal for the opposition. It was a huge boost for his Wolverines, who went on to win the game, and then took the national championship with a 3-2 overtime win over Colorado College in front of 13,000 fans.

It was selected the goal of the year by Inside Hockey, and Legg’s stick was donated to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Now the hockey innovator is a Burnaby firefighter. He’s also a father of three, and a coach of three – an assistant with the Ridge Meadows Flames junior B team, the Midget A1 team, and part of the development team for Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey.

Do his kids all run around trying to pick up pucks?

“I tell them ‘you’ll be benched,’” he joked.

READ ALSO: Why this former B.C. junior hockey player’s league records may never be broken

Actually, his position on the unorthodox play is to go ahead and try it, but first make sure there is not an easy pass to an open teammate out front of the net.

He thinks young hockey players should be encouraged to practise trick plays of any time.

“In your spare time, be as creative as you can,” said Legg.

As his goal goes viral online, he expects to see it on the ice more often.

“Maybe in a couple of years everyone will be able to do this.”


 

@NeilCorbett18
ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Apex Mountain hosting memorial run for Brayden Kuroda

Kuroda, a Penticton native and World Cup freestyle skier, passed away Monday night at the age of 19.

Online crime reporting coming to Penticton

Penticton RCMP will launch an online crime reporting tool for public use at the end of March.

AlleyCATS Okanagan: Pet of the week

Meet Softy a five-year-old Himalayan cat available for adoption

Jewelry stolen in Oliver, RCMP seek leads

RCMP say both antique pieces have significant sentimental value to the owner.

Penticton MLA urges government to address fatal stretch of Hwy 97

“People are being injured and lives are being lost on this stretch of highway.” - MLA Dan Ashton

Okanagan divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

COLUMN: Democracies don’t always have to agree

In no democratic system of governance is there ever 100 per cent agreement on any issue

EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis regulations

Recent retail license application has brought up concerns about present policy in Summerland

Guidelines regulate Summerland cannabis stores

The municipality’s policy, 300.6 establishes the 50-metre buffer zone around schools and parks

Largest aircraft to operate at YLW begins service to Toronto this summer

The Boeing 767-300ER will increase seat availability for flights to Toronto by 40 per cent

Most Read