Quantcast
 

Olympics / Sports

1980 US hockey players have seen program grow from underdog to power

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As you might imagine, the members of the 1980 U.S. hockey team have been asked to make a public appearance or two since the "Miracle on Ice" 34 years ago.

While captain Mike Eruzione said all 20 members of the team have been together just two times -- the 2002 NHL All-Star Game and the funeral for coach Herb Brooks a year later -- there have been several times where maybe eight showed for an event, 14 for another one. So they tend to see each other from time to time.

"But we don't talk about the Olympics," Eruzione said.

Ten showed up at Jobing.com Arena before the Blackhawks faced the Coyotes Friday night to be honored by a crowd heavy with Blakchawks sweaters.

"Whenever we do get together, we have some fun," Eruzione said. "We're like kids."

They were kids when they beat the Soviet Union in the semifinals on their way to the gold medal at the Lake Placid Olympics. The 2004 Hollywood version of their story, "Miracle," dramatized their story, but not too much.

"It was like 75-80 percent accurate," said center Neal Broten, who played 17 seasons in the NHL after those Games. "(The movie) fudges a few things here and there, but it was pretty good."

Both in life and in the movie, Brooks takes a hard line to mold his team.

"I always make the analogy that he's like your dad," Eruzione said. "You love your dad, but sometimes you hate your dad. ... He put it together, he orchestrated it."

Eruzione joked that Kurt Russell played Brooks too soft.

"In the movie, they made him look nice. He smiled in the movie," Eruzione said.

But the players still had the utmost respect for their former coach.

"He's the kind of a guy that would always say, 'I'll see you next year,' " said winger Buzz Schneider, who scored the first U.S. goal in the game against the Soviet Union. "He'd always have a cup of coffee with you."

Schneider, Eruzione and Broden all paused to consider their team's impact on their sport.

"We might have opened the door but today's players busted the door down. ... We go to a tournament now not as an underdog. We're a favorite," Eruzione said. "If we don't medal in Sochi, it'll be a disappointment.

"I think maybe we had a small part in that."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus