London scorer's 'Michigan' goal brings jaw-dropping move back home

It’s not easy to shut down Cale Makar. But Londoner George Diaco managed to do it earlier this week with a highlight-reel special of his own.

London native George Diaco is winning raves after scoring a lacrosse-style "Michigan" goal for OHL Hamilton in a game on Jan. 16, 2022. The move was made famous a quarter-century ago by another Londoner, Mike Legg, while he played at the University of Michigan. (Screengrab)

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It’s not easy to shut down Cale Makar. But Londoner George Diaco managed to do it earlier this week with a highlight-reel special of his own.

The 19-year-old Hamilton Bulldogs forward executed the cheeky lacrosse-style goal known as “The Michigan” in an 8-1 home win over Kingston Sunday. The tally ended Avalanche star Makar’s eight-day run as champion in TSN’s 1v1 online fan voting poll that selects the best play of the previous 24 hours.

“I don’t really like to focus on that stuff,” Diaco said after practice Wednesday, “but it’s all good. My friends are texting me and said they’re all voting for me. My family helps out a lot there, too. Their fingers are going to bleed (from punching the vote button).”

Diaco’s dedicated supporters want to see him beat Makar’s eight-game run. His two-day reign as champ was on the line Wednesday against another “Michigan” goal by Tyler Angle, a former OHLer now with the Blue Jackets.

The pioneering “Michigan” goal, of course, was the brainchild of London native Mike Legg, who scored for the Wolverines in an NCAA tournament game back in 1996. He, like Diaco, is a London Nationals alum.

“I did know that,” Diaco said. “That’s awesome. It’s a pretty rare move and I was fortunate to pull it off. I’ve been doing it in practice quite a bit. I had a lot of time behind the net and just decided to go for it.

“It worked out in my favour.”

The five-foot-seven, 160-pounder perfected the jaw-dropping move during the cancelled 2020-21 OHL season.

“During COVID, we had a lot of free time on our hands,” he said. “We started getting a little crafty with the stick and figured it out. I know it was mind-opening for a lot of players when (Carolina’s Andrei) Svechnikov did it in the NHL. That gave guys confidence to try. I remember my old teammate Arthur Kaliyev did it (in 2019-20) with the Bulldogs and it was cool to see in person.

“In fact, he scored it on the same net I did.”

Diaco and his Hamilton mates aren’t just flash-and-dash. The Bulldogs acquired star forward Mason McTavish at the OHL’s trade deadline and are pushing for a championship this spring.

When Diaco was 16, he was a top rookie on a London Nationals team that advanced to the Sutherland Cup final, losing Game 7 at home to Waterloo.

“I can connect our team here to the Nationals,” he said. “We have the same type of group – really tight, strong and everyone is positive. We feel good about going far and hopefully, everything works out for us.”

Maybe they will play long enough for another “Michigan” goal or two from Diaco.



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