Portland's Cross Hanas and James Stefan get in on wave of 'unreal' hockey goals
Hanas already has a reputation for circus goals. He outdid himself on Saturday and landed up on SportCenter's Top 10. "You takes risks and see what happens."
(Photo courtesy of the Spokane Chiefs)
The “Michigan” used to be the king of hockey moves.
You may have seen the highlight from 1996, when Michigan’s Mike Legg picked the puck up on his stick behind the net and wrapped it in above the Minnesota goalie’s shoulder for a goal in the NCAA Tournament.
This is a football-heavy newsletter, I know, but this thing went about as viral as hockey could go back in the day.
From the moment that puck went in the net, ice rinks across America were filled with kids trying out “The Michigan.” Most, with bad hands such as myself, couldn’t even get the puck up on the stick. But even the best players mostly refused to try and pull off the move in games. A mistake could prove embarrassing — and painful. But in recent years, a wave of players have started pulling it off relatively routinely.
And that’s led to the next evolution, as exhibited by this alley-oop from Trevor Zegras to Sonny Milano two weeks ago.
Again, that one went about as viral as a hockey clip can go.
Portland Winterhawks winger Cross Hanas saw it. He thought it was “unreal.” Then he tried it himself and the result landed the 19-year-old from Texas the No. 1 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Saturday night.
In Portland’s 4-1 win over Spokane, Hanas said he noticed in the second period Spokane’s defense was giving him too much cushion with the puck behind the net. With two “Michigan” goals under his belt already in his career, Hanas and teammate James Stefan talked between periods about trying out the “Zegras.”
Midway through the third period, Hanas got his chance and Stefan buried the goal home between traffic.
“That’s all about hockey — you kind of take risks and see what happens,” Hanas said. “I picked it up and took the risk and Stef, thankfully, batted it out, or else I would have looked a little stupid.”
The SportsCenter appearance was a nice signal boost for the Winterhawks, who are in their first year under new ownership. The team rebranded with a new logo this summer and is currently fourth in the Western Hockey League’s 10-team Western Conference.
Hanas, a second-round selection by Detroit in the 2020 NHL Draft, is tied for the team lead with 27 points in 28 games.
— Tyson Alger