Remember when Travis Pastrana won a gold medal at the X-Games' Moto-X Biggest Trick, becoming the first person to ever land a backflip on a motorcycle? At one point in time, a single, plain old backflip was THE BEST trick in motocross. Nowadays, you can't hardly place at the X-Games without doing a double backflip, seat-grab, heal-clicker, landing no-handed. No? Reference a bit over some readers heads?
The point is, motocross riders continued to push the envelope and test the boundaries of the sport and took events like the X-Games to new heights.
When Mike Legg from the University of Michigan pulled off the lacrosse-style, cup the puck on your stick, behind-the-net and wrap it around the post way back in 1996, that singular move transcended the sport and simply became known as "The Michigan."
Hockey players from far and wide have tried to replicate "The Michigan" in practices, during warm-ups, games of shinny on the pond and pretty much any time a player is left alone on a sheet of ice with a puck, myself included.
Some could execute "The Michigan" in practice with no goalie in net, no pressure and no stress induced from packed arena, but even fewer — and by "fewer" I mean pretty much none — have ever pulled the move off in a live game since Legg in 1996.
So when someone does pull it off in a game, it is just as exciting and unbelievable nowadays as it was when the move made its spectacular debut more than 20 years ago. I don't care if it's an NHLer, college, junior, high school or PeeWee player attempting the move in a live game, you pull it off, you reach a level of legendary status few ever reach, especially in today's viral society.
It's like witnessing a perfect game in baseball, or catching a Hail Mary as the clock expires, or a walk-off grand slam, or a goalie scoring a full-ice goal on an empty net, or executing a triple play — huh, there's a lot of baseball analogies.
When I saw the Aberdeen Wings' Twitter account tweet "Adam Pitters with the goal of the year!!!!" two things crossed my mind. Number one: Hey, I know that kid! He's an MI-HS alum. Number two: I'll be the judge of that.
After checking out the video, I did in fact concur with the Wings' initial evaluation and that it could very easily be the goal of the year... HE PULLED OFF "THE MICHIGAN!!"
A 2017 graduate of Grosse Pointe South, Pitters is verbally committed to Bowling Green State and is in the middle of his second season in the NAHL with eight goals and 29 points in 44 games for Aberdeen. The highly-skilled forward has already achieved what many in high school hockey aspire to do and making his mark with a move like this is just icing on the cake.
So I kept scrolling through the ol’ Twitter and no less than a dozen posts later, I see @jamesscottz post: “@ZyrekMichael with the absolutely filthy Michigan Move @RUnited_hockey” and two things crossed my mind. Number one: Rochester United?! And number two: no way did this happen twice in one day, BOTH stemming from the state in which the move is named after!?
YEP! Sure did. Two perfect games! Two Hail Mary’s as time expires! Two goalie goals! I couldn’t believe it.
I didn’t think I’d ever see it once in my lifetime, without it coming from some random on a HeyBarber or SpittinChiclets social media account, and here we are with two kids from our own Michigan backyards pulling off this legendary move. Bravo. Well done, gentlemen! Way to push the hockey envelope and challenge yourselves to take the game to new heights.
I don’t know if ‘The Michigan’ will ever become the norm in hockey the same way a backflip has become commonplace at the X-Games, but this fairytale move is becoming more and more common very close to home. Can you imagine if this turns into something you have to teach defensemen and goalies how to defend?! Wow.