Tim Oshie is thrilled by his son, T.J.’s, Olympic hockey fame, but not surprised. Success on ice didn’t happen in an instant, and this father and coach saw it long before his son landed in Sochi.
“He just seems to have a knack for the magnificent. I’ve seen it his whole life, but not on a worldwide stage,” said Tim Oshie, who lives in Minnesota but is in Everett with family for the Winter Games.
T.J. Oshie, 27, spent his boyhood in Everett. Although born in Mount Vernon, at a few hours old his parents took him home to Everett and he lived here until graduating eighth grade from Evergreen Middle School.
He spent ninth grade at Stanwood High School and then moved with his father to Warroad, Minn. — “Hockeytown, USA” — where his dad coached hockey. A forward with the St. Louis Blues, T.J. Oshie wears No. 74 on the U.S. team and in the NHL.
Anyone who saw T.J. Oshie’s stunning shootout against the Russians Saturday saw the makings of overnight -stardom. He scored four shootout goals, handing the U.S. a 3-2 victory on Russian ice — with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in the crowd.
Images of Oshie’s game-winning shots went viral over the weekend. Even President Barack Obama took notice, tweeting: “Congrats to T.J. Oshie and the U.S men’s hockey team on a huge win!”
Today, at 9 a.m. PST, the U.S. men’s hockey team will face the Czech Republic in an Olympic quarterfinals game. The gold medal game is scheduled for early Sunday.
Tina Oshie, T.J.’s mother, is in Sochi seeing all her son’s games. “I’m not missing it,” she said when interviewed for this column before leaving. She and Tim Oshie are divorced, but remained friends and partners in raising their three children, T.J., 24-year-old Taylor, and Tawni, 22.
Despite Oshie’s deep roots in Everett, he’s being claimed as a hometown hero in Minnesota, in Missouri, where the Blues are based, and in North Dakota where he played hockey in college.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, more than 20 family members and friends, including Tim Oshie, gathered to watch the U.S.-Russia game at the Everett home of T.J.’s aunt and his grandmother. “We did a big egg bake and had two TVs going,” said Pami Baudry, Tim Oshie’s sister and T.J.’s aunt.
Carol Oshie, T.J’s 71-year-old grandmother, went with her son Tim and grandson when they moved to Warroad for T.J.’s last three years of high school. She spent summers in Everett and hockey seasons in Minnesota during those years.
Now back in Everett, the family home is decorated with flags, a picture of T.J., and “Home of Hockey Olympian” on the window.
“I’ve watched a lot of hockey,” Carol Oshie said. “During that shootout, I knew they were going to bring him out. But when they continued to bring him out, that just blew our minds. Everybody was hollering and crying.”
International rules let the same player take multiple shots after the first three rounds of a shootout, unlike NHL rules.
Tim Oshie coached his son from the time he started playing with the Seattle Junior Hockey Association until he joined the University of North Dakota hockey team. “I coached him at Warroad High School,” said Tim Oshie, who grew up in Anoka, Minn., and played hockey there until the family moved to the Everett area when he was in seventh grade.
Tim Oshie said his family has Native American ancestry, coming from tribes in Minnesota and Canada. There’s a family history of Olympic hockey, too. 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 Games.
From his late grandfather, Richard Oshie, T.J. learned humility, his father said. “His late grandfather always told him to be humble and give praise to his team and his coaches,” Tim Oshie said.
T.J. Oshie is about to become a father himself, Tim Oshie said. The Olympian’s fiance, Lauren Cosgrove, stayed behind in St. Louis, with the couple’s baby due next month, he said.
Tim Oshie said he hasn’t tried to give advice from afar. “I’m just leaving him alone. Let the broadcasters do the talking,” he said.
After the Olympics, he’s planning a trip to St. Louis.
“We want to celebrate — hopefully a gold medal, but for sure a great U.S. Olympics team,” he said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.