The man behind “The Michigan” is in the game.
Mike Legg, former University of Michigan hockey player and pioneer of the lacrosse-style goal after famously pulling it off in an NCAA Tournament game in 1996, is now a playable character in ‘NHL 21.’
EA Sports shared a video featurette starring Legg on Monday.
Legg recalls the game and remembers being a little afraid of his coach, the legendary Red Berenson, when skating back to the bench.
“I was scared going to the bench with coach Berenson there and seeing his reaction to if that was acceptable or not,” Legg said in the video. “He just kind of gave a little shake and a little smirk and off we went.”
Legg had certainly put in the legwork.
“I’d practiced it enough,” Legg said. “For me it was like some kid learning how to take his first slap shot. He can’t raise the puck, he can’t raise the puck and then he catches one and it’s ‘Oh, wait a minute I can do this.'”
EA Sports added the feature to “NHL 21” after Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov pulled off the move twice in a 49-day span this past season. Filip Forsberg also scored with the move. When it will work again is now a matter of when, not if.
“If someone does an around-the-world my phone blows up,” Legg said. “Now in the professional ranks with Svechnikov, they’re going to develop it more and into something else in the future.”
But Legg was shocked he would actually be a playable character in the game’s latest version.
“Come on,” Legg said with a chuckle when showed the digital version of himself scoring the famous goal. “I’m humbled by it. That is cool. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. I can’t believe it.”