Way back before there was YouTube or even really much of an Internet beyond a few early adopters swapping low-res JPEGs, you might be surprised to know that hockey was still a thing that existed in the world, played by hockey players on sheets of ice. Some of that hockey was played right here in the United States. And some of THAT hockey was played in East Lansing, Michigan on March 24, 1996.
In the 1996 NCAA hockey tournament, the University of Michigan faced off against the powerhouse Minnesota Golden Gophers at Munn Arena in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan was trailing when Wolverines forward Mike Legg found himself with the puck on his stick and behind Minnesota’s net.
After stickhandling back and forth a couple of times, Legg picked the puck up on the blade of his stick. He wrapped around the post and stuffed the puck past Gophers goalie Steve DeBus into the top corner. DeBus missed what was happening until it was too late – tossing his glove up in a futile, late attempt to stop the lacrosse-style wraparound that would henceforth and forever be known in NCAA hockey circles as The Michigan Goal.
Michigan, which had been losing up until that point, went on to win the game. They later won the entire NCAA hockey tournament – legendary coach Red Berenson’s first National Championship – which was all turned around because of Legg’s incredible goal. That year, Inside Hockey named it “Goal Of The Year” and, since then, the lacrosse-style whip from behind the net has been associated with Legg.
Legg isn’t finished yet, either. During the intermission of a Michigan game just last year, Legg came out and scored not one but two incredible trick goals for the adoring fans. Today, the stick that Legg used to score the goal sits comfortably in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But the greatest legacy might be that ever since, the move Legg pioneered has been christened “The Michigan.”