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

UPDATE: Langley community gardens remain closed

‘Confusion’ over status after province declares them an essential service

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Insurance shock for Langley condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

VIDEO: Langley cheer club holds virtual workouts

Video apps allow practice sessions that respect social distancing

LETTER: More pedestrians out, so please drive safely

Pleading with motorists to slow down and to ensure everyone makes it through this challenging time

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

YThrive Home offers dozens of free workout videos for people during COVID-19 self-isolation period

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Most Read