TJ Oshie’s Social Media Fame Following Epic Shootout Goal

Note: This article was updated on July 11th, 2020. 

“Oshie, Oshie, Oshie!”

This was the chant simultaneously happening by millions of Americans across the country on the morning of February 15th, 2014. TJ Oshie delivered the shootout winning goal against arch-rival Russia.

Oshie went from being well-known within the hockey world to a national celebrity overnight. You must watch the video below so you better understand how the Oshie situation unfolded. 

According to Darren Rovell, TJ Oshie gained 39,500 followers, up 39.8%, in the first hour after the game winner. He received praise from President Barack Obama and eventually appeared on the Today Show.

This sort of national spotlight is not common for hockey and the NHL, which is what made this game and moment so special.

What Made This Moment Special 

As a forward on the St. Louis Blues who had been in the league since 2008, TJ Oshie was known in the hockey world. When you make the U.S. Olympic Team, you are either an all-star caliber player, borderline all-star or a young budding star.

For Oshie, he was a young solid player that had a lot of upside. He was actually one of the last players picked to represent team USA. America loves an underdog story and this was certainly the case with Oshie. 

While the NHL is still considered one of the four major sports, it’s constantly fighting to stay in the conversation amongst the NBA, NFL and MLB. This doesn’t take into consideration college sports, the PGA or the UFC.

There is only so much airtime in the crowded sports space. Since hockey players are humble and not very outspoken, this can lead to less exposure in a headline driven social media world. [Read Article: The NHL’s cult of non-personality]

Nobody outside of the hockey world knew who TJ Oshie was. There are superstars in the NHL like Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby that non-NHL sports fans are aware of. Oshie certainly wasn’t in this conversation, until his shootout success.

The 2014 Olympics provided the national stage for hockey to shine and the underdog story of TJ Oshie and the U.S. to come to life.

Related Blog: How Darren Rovell Amassed Over 2 Million Twitter Followers

Built-Up Anticipation 

The United States played Russia in a nationally televised Olympic hockey game. The puck dropped at 7:30 AM Eastern Time due to the time difference between the U.S. and Russia , which made the situation unique. Bars throughout the country were packed with USA hockey fans, despite the early start time.

The 2014 Olympics took place in Sochi, Russia. The Russians always field a great hockey team so there was added pressure for them to win the gold medal on home ice. The American’s typically have an above-average team and are always have a dark-horse shot at winning the gold medal, which piques the interest of sports fans who may not be hockey fans but are interested in the Olympics.

Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, who happens to be a huge hockey fan, was in attendance. Of course, there has always been a built-up tension between the U.S. and Russia, which added an extra element of flare into this game. While this game didn’t have the magnitude of the 1980 Miracle on Ice, there was a lot of hype leading up to it.

How it Went Down 

Greg Wyshynski did a great write-up about T.J. Oshie and his legendary shootout goal versus Russia, one year later

What made the situation so unique was that Oshie scored four shootout goals for the U.S., including the knockout punch in the eighth round of the shootout. In the NHL, players are only allowed to shoot once in the shootout. U.S. coach Dan Bylsma employed a unique strategy in the eight-round shootout using T.J. Oshie 6 times, responding with four goals on the six attempts. 

Below is an excerpt from Wyshynski’s article, which further explains the drama-filled situation behind the shootout:

“International rules allowed teams to designate one shooter for the rounds following the initial three, because the IIHF evidently understands the inherent drama and star-making mechanics of the gimmick better than the NHL does.”

The game was a nail-biter throughout as it was tied at the end of regulation and overtime. The drama involved in a hockey shootout is unmatched in sports. When you add in the element of having the same shooter (TJ Oshie) going up against one of the best goaltenders in the world (Sergei Bobrovsky) with the drama previously described, you get a moment for the ages.


Sports Lure 

The chant, “Oshie, Oshie, Oshie.” Became a famous one in sports lure.

Dan Bylsma, as the U.S. coaching staff decided who they’d pick for the extra rounds of the shootout, patrons at bars and in households throughout the country were shouting for Oshie. When he was selected each time, everyone erupted in excitement. The chant would continue until Oshie was ready to skate and attempt to score.

Below is a video from a sports bar in Kansas City that captures the moment perfectly: 

According to NBC Sports Network, 4.1 million people in the United States tuned into the Americans’ dramatic 3-2 victory over the Russians, a record number for a hockey game on the channel. When the game when to a shootout, 6.4 million people tuned in to watch T.J. Oshie score four times to lead Team USA to the win. TJ Oshie was the top trending topic on Twitter and dominated the headlines for weeks to come. 

Hockey was able to cement a memorable moment during the Olympics that will be remembered by many fans, not just hockey fans.