The Michigan Goal in Hockey: What it is? Who Invented it? Who scored a Michigan Goal in the NHL?

Trevor Zegras

A Michigan goal is a lacrosse-like goal in ice hockey that is scored by a player standing or skating behind the opposing net, then lifting the puck onto their hockey stick, moving their stick around to the top corner of the net, and shooting the puck into the net at close range. This goal is also known as a "Zorro" or a "High wrap", but "Michigan" is the most used name.

The first pioneers of the Michigan goal in hockey

The very first player to score a Michigan was Bill Armstrong from the Albany River Rats. He scored four of these and called it a "high wrap". The local media appreciated this minor-league hockey player. Later, Mike Legg from the Michigan Wolverines learned this feature from Armstrong.

He asked the referees if this kind of goal was legal in hockey or if it would be a penalty for high sticking. Referees agreed that there was no problem with this goal, and Legg successfully tried it in the 1996 NCAA Tournament in a game against the Golden Gophers from Minnesota.

Michigan goal in hockey: The origin of the name

Bill Armstrong called it a "high wrap," and Mike Legg gave it the name "Michigan" because he played for the Wolverines in this American state. For example, in Europe, people called this type of goal "Zorro" because players need to make a "Z" movement with their stick in order to score such a goal.

You can also find the name "The Sketch," according to Andrei Svechnikov from the Carolina Hurricanes. The Russian forward was the first player ever to score this goal in the NHL. People from Canada usually call it simply a lacrosse goal.

The most memorable Michigan goals

Andrei Svechnikov: The first in the NHL

The first successful Michigan goal attempt in the NHL came from Andrei Svechnikov from the Carolina Hurricanes, who scored against the Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich on October 29, 2019. Svechnikov scored a second such goal against the Winnipeg Jets on December 17, 2019, against future Vezina-winning goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. Andrei scored his third Michigan goal on April 9, 2024, against the Boston Bruins.

Filip Forsberg: The Sweet Swede

In 2022, Swedish forward Filip Forsberg, who scored a Michigan goal for the Nashville Predators, observed that goaltenders are starting to get better at defending the top corner of the net when an attacker is in the goaltender trapezoid behind the net.

Kent Johnson: 4 Michigan goals for this youngster

Kent Johnson, an another University of Michigan alumnus, has scored four Michigan goals in his international career, including one for Canada against the Czechia in the 2022 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships

Mikael Granlund: The Miracle in Bratislava

Mikael Granlund scored a "Zorro" goal for Finland against Russia in the 2011 World Ice Hockey Championship semifinals in Bratislava, Slovakia. Suomi later won the whole tournament. 

Michigan in women's hockey? Introducing the Slovak Nela Lopušanová

At the 2023 IIF World Women's U18 Championship, Slovakia's Nela Lopušanová, aged 14 at that time, scored a Michigan goal in a quarterfinal game against Sweden. 

Bedard and Zegras combined for 2 Michigans in 1 historic night of hockey

On December 23, 2023, Connor Bedard scored a Michigan goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in a 5-7 loss to the St. Louis Blues. A few hours later, Travis Zegras scored a Michigan goal for the Anaheim Ducks in a 2-3 loss to the Seattle Kraken. It was the first time in the history of an NHL that two players scored a Michigan goal on the same day. 

Pavel Barber: Creative Hockey Michigans Looking Easy

Pavel Barber is one of the most entertaining hockey influencers. He is a stick handling specialist with a big passion for a variety of incredible hockey skills. His love for hockey is simply unique. You can watch how he can handle a Michigan with Rezztek® on his stick in the video below.

Michigan in hockey? You won't do it, if you won't try

Still, it's pretty difficult to score a Michigan goal, especially in the National Hockey League. Several players are trying to do it, some of them coming really close to a successful Michigan. You have to believe in yourself, choose the right moment in a game, and, most importantly, have good skills and timing. For example, Jakub Lauko from the Boston Bruins and David Kämpf from the Toronto Maple Leafs tried it (both are playing with Rezztek® ) and came very close. 

Also Sidney Crosby from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Carolina Hurricanes had ambitious attempts, but they are still waiting for their first Michigan goal. 

Michigan Goals Scored in the NHL

Season Team Player
2019-2020 Carolina Hurricanes Andrei Svechnikov
2019-2020 Carolina Hurricanes
Andrei Svechnikov
2021-2022 Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras
2021-2022 Anaheim Ducks Trevor Zegras
2022-2023 Nashville Predators
Filip Forsberg
2023-2024 Chicago Blackhawks Connor Bedard
2023-2024 Anaheim Ducks  Trevor Zegras
2023-2024 Carolina Hurricanes Andrei Svechnikov

Source: Fanarch


Some players, coaches, journalists, and commentators don't like Michigan goals or other fancy and innovative ways to score. The reason is simple: they see it as a kind of showboating and the type of behavior they don't want to see in an ice hockey match. On the other hand, this sport needs moments and features like Michigan.

It's a way how the sport gains popularity and new fans. The conservative coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, John Tortorella, sees a Michigan goal as a disgrace. Not everybody likes it, and that's good. Skills like these can create discussions and spread creativity and inspiration. It's not just in hockey; the whole world needs it.

Jakub Vaverka

Jakub Vaverka

I create content for social media for a living and I live hockey. Going to NHL games and writing blogs about my most favorite game is a dream come true.

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