LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Legends reunited in Lake Placid over the weekend.
It’s been 35 years since the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team rallied to beat Russia in the feat known as the “Miracle on Ice” and then going on to win the gold medal.
It was February 22, 1980, and 8,500 people erupted as the longest minute in sports history reached its orchestral climax. It was a hockey game, but it was so much more.
The members of that Olympic team returned to Lake Placid 35 years later for the Relive the Miracle anniversary.
“Oh, it’s nostalgic cause it hasn’t changed; it’s the same place,” left wing Mike Eruzione said. “The Oval’s still there. The rink is still here, so when you come back it’s like I tell people – it’s like going to Pleasantville. It’s such a great little place in a great little town.”
“It’s a really special spot, and we’re just proud that we brought something really positive from here,” goaltender Jim Craig said.
Craig and Eruzione were among the 19 who told their firsthand accounts of the journey they took to reach gold on Saturday night. A crowd of 5,000 fans gathered in the Herb Brooks arena.
The event concluded with an emotional raising of Bob Suter’s jersey to the arena rafters. The defenseman suffered a fatal heart attack last September.
“So now when people look up into the rafters they’ll see Bob Suter, and they’ll reflect back on who he was and what kind of person he was,” Mark Johnson with the U.S. Hockey Center said. “Obviously, he was a very good hockey player, but more importantly, a good person and what he did for the game of hockey.”
Craig reflected on his coach, the late Herb Brooks, and the value he instilled in his players that helped them overcome.
“Well, I think the biggest thing is as a coach, you have to motivate people to believe in your vision,” he said. “And so Herb’s strategy was we would be in better shape than them, so you can have an idea of how hard this team really worked to get where it was, and you know, people say it was a miracle. It wasn’t a miracle; it was just really hard work that we committed to. I think people forget that team was the greatest hockey team ever assembled, and um…we beat them.”