Great Moments: Miracle on Ice
“Great moments are born from great opportunity.” Legendary coach Herb Brooks spoke those words to a ragtag group of college hockey players as they prepared for their David versus Goliath-esque matchup against the four-time defending gold-medal winning Soviet team in the 1980 Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid, New York. USA Hockey had the home ice advantage, but that’s the only upper hand the seventh-seeded U.S. team would have in this match-up. That is until they stepped onto the ice.
A few months prior, University of Minnesota coach Herb Brooks was hired on as the Team USA Olympic Hockey coach for the 1980 Winter Games. The team was projected to be filled with collegiate athletes, so a college coach was a must.
Brooks recruited students from his old University, and its direct competitor Boston College. The University of Minnesota and Boston College had a long running rivalry, but Brooks felt that the athletes from these two schools gave Team USA the best chance to defeat the Soviets.
The roster was headlined by Mike Eruzione and Jim Craig, two players most experts ticketed for a lengthy NHL career. Other notables were Jack O’Callahan, Neal Broten, Ken Morrow and Mike Ramsey. All great players, but nowhere near the talent of the Soviets. Brooks demanded that the team perfect the fundamentals, be better teammates, and most importantly, condition.
As the tournament kicked off, Team USA would finish 2nd in their group to Sweden, scoring 25 goals across 5 games and allowing only 10. In the other group, the Soviet Union stormed through the competition scoring 51 goals and allowing a mere 11. This would lead to the matchup that would later be known as the Miracle on Ice.
Remember when I mentioned that the Soviets held every notable advantage in this match-up? Well, everyone knew it. The experts knew it, the fans knew, and the players knew it. But once the puck dropped on February 22nd 1980, everything was on an even playing field. After two periods, the Soviets led 3-2, but hope wasn’t lost. Team USA had already done the unthinkable, they had stuck with the Russians for 40 minutes. Now all the conditioning Coach Brooks had demanded and the work they had put in up until this point would come into play. Team USA would complete the comeback and win the game 4-3, and as Al Michaels put it, “Do you believe in Miracles? YES!”
To this day, the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Olympic Games is considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history making memorabilia from this historic day a must have for any sports collector. Charity Benefits Unlimited is proud to offer a collection of authentic Miracle on Ice signed memorabilia including framed photographs, jerseys and more! Available for purchase in our showroom or to be featured at your next fundraising event, you can learn more about these historic pieces by contacting our team at 480-483-0525 or firstname.lastname@example.org.