Miracle on Ice: Forty Years Ago

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  1. What a great memory. And the gold medal game against Finland, which few talk about today, was just as well played on the part of the US team. I lived in the Boston area in the late ‘70s and, being a big hockey fan, and engaged to a Boston University grad who is now my wife of almost 40 years, had the great pleasure of following the BU hockey team for three seasons. Brown Arena, their home ice, was a marvelous place to watch a game, with a capacity of about 3,500, and the team was also quite good, winning the NCAA championship in 1978 and the regular season ECAC championship in both 1978 and 1979. They also won the Beanpot trophy in ‘78 and ‘79, which is awarded to the winner of the annual round-robin tournament among the four largest Boston-area hockey schools, BU, Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern University. Mike Eruzione, the Olympic team captain, had already moved on from BU to professional hockey by the 1976-77 season, but we still got to see the other three BU players who were key to the US team’s success in the 1980 Olympics, goalie Jim Craig, forward Dave Silk and defenseman Jack O’Callahan. Eruzione was never going to make the NHL, so he was allowed to return to amateur status in 1979, and made the national team in time for the Games.
    How did these kids win against the Soviets, who were full-time paid players and reputedly some of the best in the world at the time? My guess is the US was underrated and the Soviets were both overrated and overconfident, and a highly motivated US team caught them by surprise. In that way, the game reminded me quite a bit of the Super Bowl that Joe Namath’s New York Jets won from the smugly overconfident Baltimore Colts way back in January of 1969. The rule that my first mentor in trial practice taught me as a rookie lawyer is equally applicable to any competitive endeavor: always assume that your opponent is just as skilled and just as smart as you think you are. The Soviet team learned that lesson the hard way.

  2. Excellent. It reminds me of my son who was the coach of a traveling little league hockey team in Michigan who showed this movie to his team before they won the National Championship a couple of years after the movie. Most inspirational.

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