Cooper Dennie woke up Monday morning knowing exactly what he was going to do in his shootout attempt that night. On Tuesday, the 10-year-old woke up and saw himself on SportsCenter.
Dennie electrified the crowd at Nationwide Arena on Monday with a 360-degree spinning lacrosse-style shootout goal — and soon found himself going viral. By Tuesday night, the clip had more than 350,000 views on Twitter and was No. 10 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Monday night.
It’s a move Dennie, who lives in Powell, has been working on in spurts for nearly a year, beginning with practicing just the spin before adding the element of picking the puck up off the ice and then spinning.
“It really came to a head around October when we learned that we were going to do the shootout through the (Columbus) Capitals select team,” said Dennie’s father, Brian. “He had started talking about, ‘What should I do?’ I told him, ‘You should keep practicing and see if you can lift the puck up and do the lacrosse move.’ “
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By early January, Dennie was able to pick the puck up, spin around and get a shot on net. That’s when Brian tweeted a clip of his son attempting the move, putting some attention on Dennie’s impending appearance at Nationwide.
‘It was a really pure moment’
When Dennie skated out to take his turn Monday, the crowd could tell something was up as soon as he bent down to pick the puck up onto his stick. In a fluid motion — telling of a year’s worth of practices — Dennie whipped around to slingshot the puck toward the net past the unsuspecting goalie.
The trick shot goal was met with a roar rivaling the noise level when the Blue Jackets score. Brian couldn’t even hear it over the sound of his own celebration.
“As he bent down, the crowd kind of did an, ‘Oh?’ and then he shot it, and then they cheered,” Brian said. “There was an audible first noise when he first bent down and got the puck up. It was really cool to hear that. And then I couldn’t hear anything because we were yelling.
“… I had a really great view down in the Zamboni (tunnel). It was a really pure moment of just screaming at the top of my lungs at my kid when he hit it. We all got done, he was so excited and went right for his teammates. Full sprint for those guys, big hugs all around. It was awesome to see.”
Practice makes perfect
Brian admits that he wasn’t a huge fan of the move when Cooper first started trying it. As both a coach and a dad, he would have preferred his son kept his focus on the fundamentals.
But after he pulled it off on one of the biggest possible stages, it’s safe to say that Brian’s opinion has softened.
“Coach-slash-dad tells him he’s wasting his time, and now he’s internet-famous because of wasting his time,” Brian said. “It’s a really funny thing. … It’s been really fun. I’m as excited, if not more excited, as he is. Just to see something like that happen to him, it’s really cool.”
And Cooper isn’t ready to stop with just the move he pulled off Monday night.
“Now he’s actually trying (to go) between the legs, picking it up and spin,” Brian said. “He’s doing that now, but he wasn’t ready to try that in front of the people.”
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Cooper Dennie goes viral for trick shot shootout goal at Jackets game