St. Louis Blues fans already know what an asset T.J. Oshie is to his team and this year international hockey fans will get to see first-hand what Osh brings to the ice as he joins fellow Bluenotes David Backes, Kevin Shattenkirk and the rest of Team USA in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, his first time representing his country in the Winter Games.
Oshie, a Mount Vernon, Washington native and University North Dakota alum has already put together one of his best NHL seasons to date and shares the St. Louis team lead in points with Alexander Steen at 46. With 14 goals and 32 assists through 57 games, Osh is on pace to at the very least tie his season high in goals (19 in 2011-12) and will blow away his season high in helpers and total points (35/54 also in 2011-12.) T.J. has scored 8 goals since being named to Team USA and has been playing at an extremely high level during that time.
Already one of the most energetic Blues, Osh played a major role in each of the last 4-games leading into the Olympic break. He scored the first goal in the shoot-out win over the Nashville Predators on February 1st, had a goal and an assist in the 5-4 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on the 4th, scored the OT winner for St. Louis last Thursday night versus the Boston Bruins, and scored again in the shoot-out victory Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. T.J. leads the team with a 70% success clip in shoot-out attempts this season.
T.J. and his family moved to Minnesota during his teen years where he graduated from high school where he won two state hockey titles with the Warroad High Warriors. The NHL has shut down for almost three weeks as Oshie and many of his teammates and rivals from around the league head to Sochi in search of a Gold medal and Bleedin’ Blue had a unique opportunity to speak with T.J.’s father, Coach Tim Oshie, vie email about his family’s involvement in hockey and the Blues:
Answer: I’ve been involved in the game of hockey since 1969 when I put on my first pair of skates at the young tender age of 5 years old .. I’ve been surrounded by an athletic environment my entire life which includes having two, second cousins play in the National Hockey League prior to T.J. making the jump on May 13, 2008, signing his first NHL entry-level contract with the Blues.
The second cousins are Henry Boucha (Warroad, MN) and Gary Sargent (Warroad, MN) yet transferred to Bemidji, MN just prior to entering 8th grade back in the late 60’s. Henry broke in with the Detroit Red Wings in 1972 just after the Winter Olympic Games in Shapparo, Japan in which Team USA captured the Silver Medal losing the Russians in the Gold Medal Game. Henry was selected # 16 overall (2nd Round) of the 1971 NHL Entry Draft. Gary then made the jump to the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings after playing one season at Bemidji State University after winning a NCAA Division 2 National Championship. He was selected # 48 overall of the 1974 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings and played for the Kings then the Minnesota North Stars before announcing his retirement in 1983.
I played several seasons for Anoka (MN) Tornados youth hockey program from 1971-77 from Mites to Peewees .. transferred out to Everett, Washington in summer of 1977 and continued playing Bantam A hockey for Seattle. After one year of Bantams called it a career to focus more on the sports of football, basketball, baseball and golf as a young prep athlete at Cascade High School. A two-year letterman in football and basketball and a 4-year letterman in golf.
In 1984, went on to Everett Community College and captured two varsity letters in Men’s Basketball then received a full-ride scholarship to Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN. After a family hardship, relocated back to Everett, WA in fall of 1986 and went on to coach my Alma Mater of Everett Community College Men’s basketball from 1986-2001 .. prior to transferring back to Warroad, MN in the late summer of 2002 along with T.J. to pursue his hockey dreams. All the while I was also moonlighting as a hockey coach for the Seattle Jr. Hockey / NW Admirals AAA Hockey program from 1993-2002. Also produced a summer program called the Washington, and now Minnesota Jr. Stars AAA Hockey program based out of both NW Minnesota and the greater Seattle, Washington called the Washington Jr. Stars AAA hockey program since 1995.
Answer: Yes. In fact, I had a hand in his hockey career from beginners through Bantam A for Seattle Jr. Hockey with the program called NW Admirals AAA Hockey from 1993-2002, both as a head coach and an assistant coach as well. It was apparent at a young age T.J. was very driven to become a hockey player. Realistically, spent almost every waking day either on roller blades or his ice skates. I opened the Seattle In-Line Hockey Arena with a partner Todd Rudge in 1995 and ran USA Hockey In-Line programs from beginners to old timers. It was the explosion of the roller blades and hockey out in Seattle. We had as well over 1,000 hockey players and recreational skaters coming through the turnstiles on a weekly basis and the Oshie (TJ, Taylor, Tawni) / Baudry kids (Cory & Crystal) spending evenings and weekends at the SILA facility.
Taylor, the second eldest, also played youth hockey for Seattle Jr. Hockey and played through Midgets in Washington before transferring back to Warroad High School in 2006. He also proudly donned the Warroad Warriors hockey jersey for two hockey seasons and became a highly prolific goal scorer for the Warriors. He played at St.Cloud University in the Intramurals program and still can give anyone the business as well as a true sniper.
I had the distinct pleasure to coach my eldest daughter Tawni (21) at Seattle Jr. Hockey for only one practice. One of other participants in front of her fell backwards and knocked Tawni off her feet. Not too appreciative, Tawni decided to drop the gloves and give the youngster the business. That happened to be her first, and only scuffle and she decided to hang up the ice skates for her rollerblades. You could see drive in her play but loved supporting her two older brothers in the stands and being a Rink Rat as well.
Currently, I’m coaching my youngest daughter, Aleah Oshie-Hangsleben here in NW Minnesota coaching the East Grand Forks 8-U Girl’s hockey program. We are currently 8-1-1 and have outscored our opponents by a combined score of 108-12.