Yesterday, most of America did not recognize TJ Oshie. He is a star player in St. Louis, where he is a constant point producer for the St. Louis Blues, but outside of the diehard hockey fans, his name would have been all but unrecognizable. That all changed early this morning, when Oshie’s four goals in six attempts in a shootout won the game for Team USA against rival Russia. The final game-winning goal sparked celebrations in bars and pubs across America, as TJ Oshie celebrated his shootout heroics with his team on the ice.
First up is the Banshee Bar in Boston:
Chants of “Oshie, Oshie, Oshie” echoed down South in a gas station in Atlanta, Georgia:
Russian goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, is the starting goaltender for the Columbus Bluejackets. But despite this, the R Bar in Columbus, Ohio celebrated T.J. Oshie’s shootout heroics with the rest of America:
In Wilmington, Virginia, a home to no National Hockey League or American Hockey League team:
Not that bars were the only place of celebration. Hear the chants of “USA, USA, USA”, followed by awed silence before the goal, from the youth hockey club at the Mt. St. Charles Arena:
Even the President of the United States was impressed by the game between the United States and Russia. The White House twitter account posted a message from Barack Obama, congratulating TJ Oshie and the US team and telling them to “Never stop believing in miracles.”
Perhaps the president was calling back to “The Miracle on Ice”, when a group of United States college kids defeated the Russian national team in the 1980 Olympic games. The likes of Herb Brooks, Jim Craig, and Mike Eruzione were household names after those games, when the United States and Russia were in the midst of the Cold War. Though it was “only” a hockey game, it was a victory that represented a decisive blow against Russia for the United States. Though TJ Oshie’s shootout heroics did not have the same implications behind it, it still sparked celebrations across America nonetheless.
But if you ask TJ Oshie, he will downplay his role. Despite almost singlehandedly winning the game for the United States in the shootout, the first action he performed after scoring the winning goal was a point toward US goaltender, Jonathan Quick. He knew that Quick gave him the chance to become the hero, making save after save against Russian forwards Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk. Asked after the game how it felt to be an American hero, Oshie responded that he was not a hero. He said that “American heroes are wearing camo.”
Humble even in victory, TJ Oshie no doubt embodies the spirit of an American hero, despite his claim. And his performance against Russia has made him a household name, at least for today. Before the game, he had just over 90,000 followers on Twitter. Now, the follower count is over 167,000 and rising. America has spoken. His shootout heroics have made TJ Oshie famous and sparked celebration across America.
By Jonathan Gardner