Maybe Mike Legg can teach the Ridge Meadows Flames a thing or two about scoring big goals.
Legg is a firefighter who lives in Maple Ridge and this past week joined the local junior B hockey team as an assistant coach, along with two others.
Legg is better known for scoring one of the most famous goals in hockey history, known simply as ‘The Michigan.’
He scored it on March 24, 1996 as a member of the Michigan Wolverines during the 1996 NCAA championships. With Michigan trailing the University of Minnesota by a goal, Legg scooped a loose puck lacrosse-style behind the Gophers’ net and wrapped in over the goalie’s left shoulder to tie the score.
Breaking news: The Flames are proud to announce the addition of Mike Legg to the coaching staff. Mike played on the 1996 NCAA national championship winning team & was drafted by New Jersey. Oh, he also scored "The Goal". Welcome to the Flames Mike!🔥 https://t.co/eC9pklDapg
— Ridge Meadows Flames (@flamesjunior) June 20, 2018
The Wolverines went on the win the Frozen Four championship title, defeating Colorado College in the final. Legg scored the tying goal in that game, too.
Brendan Morrison, the Pitt Meadows product and former Vancouver Canuck, scored the winning goal in overtime.
Morrison and Legg were both drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1993, Morrison in the second round, Legg in the 11th.
After graduating from Michigan in 1997, Legg played professionally in Finland, then in the IHL, CHL, WCHL and ECHL.
He retired after the 2002-03 season, which he split with the Columbia Inferno and Augusta Lynx. His top season was 1999-2000, when he recorded 42 goals and 97 points with the Lubbock Cotton Kinds of the WPHL.
During his final year at Michigan, Legg had 21 goals and 34 assists in 41 games. But he never scored a more spectacular goal than the one against Minnesota, since replicated by many, attempted by more.
Legg has spent the past several years helping the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association as a coach, skills instructor and evaluator, which his how he met Flames head coach Bayne Ryshak.
Legg, 43, helped the bantam A1 team the past two seasons.
“We are pretty lucky to have someone like Mike to help us out this year,” Ryshak said.
He added that Legg has a “smart hockey mind,” a ton of positive energy, and will bring new ideas to the team.
“Mike coming in will rejuvenate everyone pretty good,” Ryshak said.
The Flames won the Harold Brittain Conference last season, going 26-14-2-2 with 56 points, but then fell in the Pacific Junior Hockey League championship to the Delta Ice Hawks.
Legg will help Ryshak run the forward group this coming season.
Derek Bedard ran the defense last season, but was promoted this past spring to general manager to take over for the departed Jaime Fiset.
Ryshak said Legg will also help replace some of the experience lost with Fiset, who moved over to run a new minor midget team.
Replacing Bedard as coach of the defense will be Cam Alder. He assisted Bedard last year, but Ryshak said Alder, a former Flame and team MVP, is ready for a larger role.
The Flames have also added Alex Smith as an assistant coach. Smith was head coach of the Ridge bantam A1 team last year and is also a former Flame and team captain.
“He’ll help with the D, too,” Ryshak said of Smith.
As well, the Flames have a new goalie coach in Eric Williams, who played with the Flames before spending four years in the WHL and two in the former CIS, the latter with the University of B.C. Thunderbirds.
Williams will be helping Eric Clark, who joined the Flames this week and played midget AAA in Maple Ridge last season.
The Flames have also added Tyson Tilley, a forward who played midget AAA in Langley in 2017-18.
Previously, the Flames added Ridge forward Isaac Tomic, as well as forwards Tetsuya Prior and Mark Cherkasov, and defenseman Jackson O’Brien from the Port Moody Panthers, and forward Eric Bourhill from Delta.