Years later, T.J. Oshie got his 'A' back
In the days following UND’s loss in the 2007 NCAA Frozen Four semifinals, T.J. Oshie walked into the UND coaches’ office and told the staff he was returning for his junior year.
Oshie could have signed with the St. Louis Blues, who drafted him in the first round two years earlier, but he wanted to come back for another year at UND.
He was enjoying college. He was bitterly disappointed about not winning the national championship and wanted another chance at it. He wanted to be a team leader, too.
Even though the Blues once again attempted to sign him after the summer’s development camp, Oshie stuck with his promise to return.
It was a no-brainer to make him an alternate captain.
While senior Rylan Kaip would wear the ‘C,’ Oshie fit right into the leadership group. His relentless style of play and combination of grit, tenacity and skill was -- and still is -- everything the UND hockey program prides itself upon.
Oshie was one of the country’s best players to boot.
But midway through the season, the coaching staff made the hard decision to take away Oshie’s ‘A’ after a highly publicized incident in Grand Forks.
Oshie and New Hampshire forward Mike Radja were cited for urinating in an elevator in downtown Grand Forks. What wasn’t publicly known until much later is that the elevator got stuck and the players were trapped inside.
The charges were eventually dropped, but that didn’t happen until June. The season was long gone by that time and Oshie had already signed with the Blues.
The staff found out a couple of years later just how much it hurt Oshie to have his ‘A’ taken away.
Knowing what Oshie was like as a teammate and a player, knowing his character and loyalty, they wanted to make things right.
It happened on the night of Nov. 21, 2013.
The Blues played at the Boston Bruins that evening. UND happened to be playing a road series at Boston University on Nov. 22-23.
The team flew into Boston on the 21st, and the coaching staff attended the Blues-Bruins game that night. They greeted Oshie after the game.
Head coach Dave Hakstol had a surprise.
He brought along one of Oshie’s old UND jerseys.
It had the ‘A’ stitched back on.