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It’s officially been 43 years since America beat the Soviet Union in the greatest hockey game ever played.
On February 22, 1980, a young team of scrappy Americans took the ice in Lake Placid on behalf of the USA to face off against the Soviet juggernaut during the winter Olympics.
The Soviets weren’t just great. They were the most dominant hockey dynasty in the world, and the gap between the communists out of Moscow and the rest of the world was unbelievably large.
Yet, for one night in Lake Placid, New York, the world stopped to watch a ragtag team coached by Herb Brooks face off against the USSR.
Nobody really expected America to win. While the USA had out-performed expectations and hadn’t lost a game, the consensus thought was the good guys were going to get destroyed.
After all, the two teams played shortly before the Olympics and got dismantled in humiliating fashion. However, that’s not what happened.
The Miracle on Ice will forever be the greatest hockey game ever played.
Over the three periods that unfolded in front of the world, the USA didn’t just manage to skate and stay with the Soviets, they managed to get some very fortunate breaks.
None were bigger than Mark Johnson’s goal at the end of the first period to tie things up 2-2. It was almost like God was on the side of the good guys. Entering the third period down 3-2, the Soviets would never score again.
In front of roughly 8,000 fans in attendance, the USA ripped off two third period goals to win 4-3. With the eyes of the freedom-loving world upon Lake Placid, Team USA did the impossible:
Sent the Soviets to the locker room with a loss. The next game, America would go on to beat Finland to win the gold medal.
Herb Brooks did the unthinkable.
A lot of times, sports are just sports. Even big games don’t really withstand the test of time. Events fade in our memories and are only occasionally talked about.
That’s not the case with the Miracle on Ice. It’s been 43 years and it’s still talked about all the time. Why? Because it was about a hell of a lot more than hockey.
The Soviets were bogged down in Afghanistan, America was in a cold war with the Soviet Union, the Iranian hostage crisis was underway, our economy was in the tank, optimism in the country was pretty much gone in the USA.
February 22, 1980, a group of scrappy American hockey players gave people something to believe in.
And, as a bonus, we got Kurt Russell playing Herb Brooks in a great movie about the Miracle on Ice. I watch the locker room speech all the time.
I could watch it 1,000 more times and it won’t get old.
The Miracle on Ice is an all-time great American moment that millions of proud patriots cherish. That was true 20 years ago and it’s still true 43-years later.
For my family, it’s such an important event we have a dog named after Herb Brooks. That’s what real dedication looks like.
I even somehow managed to get my hands on a jersey signed by the team that is now kept in a secure location.
So, on the 43-year anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, crack a beer and say a toast in honor of the greatest hockey game ever played.
One CommentLeave a Reply
I was young and patriotic back then and now I’m old and cynical, but that still gives me goosebumps.
Thanks for sharing.