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

Rural Saanich residents urged to take preventative steps ahead of wildfire season

Saanich Fire Department expects another hot, dry wildfire season

Emergency crews respond to crash on Elk Lake Drive

Emergency vehicles are blocking access to the area

Peninsula farm stands open for business with COVID-19 restrictions

Growers hopeful shoppers will support local farms

Victoria traffic stop yields drugs, case full of weapons

Police seize firearms, swords and flares

Capital Regional District prepares to reopen regional campgrounds

Camping will look different at Island View, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River sites

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

Most Read