Even the most jaded hockey fan gets excited by the prospect of seeing a player try to pull off “The Michigan.”
The trick shot is named after Mike Legg’s ground-breaking goal for the University of Michigan in 1996. From behind the opponent’s net, Legg scooped the puck onto the blade of his stick, then reached around and the net and lifted it over the shoulder of the surprised goalie.
While still extraordinarily rare, the trick shot has since been pulled off by a handful of NHL players; now both the shot and Legg, who never made the NHL, have been added to EA Sports’ just-released NHL 21 video game.
As part of its marketing for the game, EA Sports hired Partners Film and director Trevor Gourley to produce a short commercial film about Legg.
“I remember watching the move as a kid,” said Gourley in a release. “It pre-dated YouTube and I remember being in the computer lab and waiting 20 minutes to download a blurry six-second QuickTime file. It was the hockey equivalent of footage of the Loch Ness Monster.”
The two-minute video, “The Man Behind The Michigan,” starts out like a profile of Legg, who now lives in B.C. He recalls the famous moment and talks about its legacy, before the film crew reveals to him that the goal has been added to NHL 21.
“There was a little bit of a concern about the final moment,” said Gourley. “Athletes, specifically hockey players, can sometimes be stoic or unexpressive. But we couldn’t have asked for a more genuine or grateful guy than Mike. I was directing remotely on the other side of the country and I shed a few bro-tears when I saw his reaction.”