By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
One suitcase and a ton of pride.
A forward for the St. Louis Blues NHL team, T.J. Oshie learned Jan. 1 that he was on the Olympic roster. He was born in Everett, where he attended Lowell Elementary and Evergreen Middle schools before moving to Stanwood with his mother.
T.J. Oshie spent his freshman year at Stanwood High School after his parents divorced. In 2002, he moved with his father, Tim Oshie, to Warroad, Minn., a place that’s been called “Hockeytown, USA.”
On ice from the time he was 4 years old with the Seattle Junior Hockey Association, T.J. Oshie was picked by the Blues in the 2005 NHL draft. He decided to play college hockey at the University of North Dakota, and didn’t sign with the Blues until 2008.
Tina Oshie, a Stanwood native now living in Everett, is all too aware of fears over possible terrorism at what a USA Today article Tuesday dubbed the “Security Games.”
For weeks, there have been reports of searches for “black widow” terror suspects around Sochi, and of plots targeting the Olympic torch relay. In late December, two suicide bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd, about 400 miles from Sochi, killed 34 people.
Despite any fears, Tina Oshie simply has to be in Sochi to see her son play.
“I’m not missing it,” she said Monday.
Saturday morning, the day after the Olympics Opening Ceremony, she will take a commercial flight to New Jersey. Her son has a game with the Blues Saturday, but will fly to New Jersey after it ends. From there, the U.S. hockey team and family members will take two charter planes to Russia. Due to tight security, Tina Oshie has no idea yet what time those planes will leave on Sunday.
“The opening ceremonies are before we get there. If something happens, we won’t go,” she said. She also said visitors have been warned not to wear anything identifying themselves as Americans.
Her son will stay in the Olympic Village. She will be at a Sochi hotel called the Bridge Resort, inside what Russian President Vladimir Putin has said will be a secure “ring of steel.”
Tina Oshie, 49, said she has undergone an extensive background check. She has tickets to every U.S. hockey game and VIP entry credentials for the Sochi Olympic Park. She hopes to travel to the mountain venue where ski events will be held.
Tim Oshie won’t make the trip to Sochi, but hopes for another chance to see T.J. as an Olympian.
“I’m going four years from now,” said Tim Oshie, a 1982 graduate of Cascade High School who excelled in basketball in high school and at Everett Community College.
He and Tina Oshie have remained friends and partners in raising their three children, T.J., Taylor and Tawni. Tim Oshie is now in Everett, but has deep roots in Minnesota and the world of hockey.
T.J. Oshie is the second cousin of Henry Boucha, who won a silver medal with the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team in the 1972 Winter Olympics, and played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota North Stars.
Tim Oshie said his son didn’t play at the Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., but was a team alternate. For several years, he has been part of the U.S. Men’s National Team, which won a silver medal in world competition last year.
Tina Oshie, who once owned a Stanwood hair salon, remembers weekend trips to Canada when T.J. was a budding hockey star.
“The whole family traveled. Canada was our second home,” she said.”Some people thought we were pushing that kid. But he loves hockey, he absolutely loves it.”
Tim Oshie said the U.S. hockey team, along with Canada, Russia and Sweden are the ones to watch in the gold medal race. And the player to watch? The one Tina Oshie will have her eye on?
He’s No. 74 — T.J. Oshie.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.