OT: 39 year anniversary of Miracle on Ice

Submitted by crg on February 22nd, 2019 at 8:44 PM

Just watched "Miracle" for the first time as well.  Good movie (if a bit "Disney-fied"), but to me it all just reinforces how much more interesting it is to watch young guys play their hearts out for something other than a paycheck (only 13 of the 20 man roster had any time in the NHL afterwards, and some of those were only a few games).

Wish I could have been there to see it live, but it was a few years before my time.


Bill Bafferty

February 22nd, 2019 at 11:31 PM ^

Larionov was not on the 1980 USSR Olympic team. He was 19 years old and joined CSKA (Red Army) team in 1980 after the Olympics. Ironically, it was because the US beat them that Tikhonov went with the younger Russians and jettisoned one of the best hockey players ever in Valeri Kharlamov who died in a car accident instead of playing in the games vs the NHL later that year. The "30 for 30" on "Of Miracles and Men" has a great version of how the Soviets dealt with the Miracle. 


February 22nd, 2019 at 9:33 PM ^

It's one of those events that you always remember exactly where you were when it happened. My wife and I were at our brother-in-law's with the rest of the family sitting in front of the old TV watching it on tape delay. One of the greatest moments in sports history.


February 22nd, 2019 at 9:53 PM ^

saw it live on french canadian CBC broadcast.  translated for father and one of my brothers.  yes, it is one of those 'do you remember where you were' moments.  

everyone forgets the 1960 miracle on ice team.  the cleary brothers from harvard were the stars, tallying about 1/3 rd of team USA's goals in that olympic tournament.  billy cleary was a cool guy.  


February 22nd, 2019 at 9:58 PM ^

Very few people saw the game live. The network played it on tape delay to get it into prime time. 

I saw about half the game live via a broadcast in French on UHF 32. Terrible reception; just good enough to figure out who was who.


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:03 PM ^

Watched in basement family room, home having to miss hoop road game after being sick. Sophomore in HS.  Remember Jim McKay coming on to start the broadcast with a huge smile and people going nuts outside the studio window.  Watched the tape delay for next 2-3 hours and still get a chill whenever I hear the greatest words ever uttered during a sportscast by Al Michaels.  Think how thing have changed.  ABC could not move game to prime time.  Tape delay.  No internet. ESPN wasn't yet ESPN.  Plus, we weren't trained to look for alternative means to get the result, we just had to keep watching and get deeper into the game.  Think Sunday AM was the only time my entire family sat and watched a sporting event together.    

gustave ferbert

February 23rd, 2019 at 5:09 AM ^

I can't think of a bigger one for American sports.  The 1972 olympics in basketball, but that was because of a BS call.  However the Americans didn't use professsional players. 


Tret'yak, in my mind, is still the best goalie to have ever played.  It's a shame he wasn't allowed to play in the NHL.  


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:30 PM ^

I recently saw a jersey that the team signed on sale at a TJ Maxx!  Such a strange place to see such an item and it was chained to wall given its $999.00 price tag.  


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:35 PM ^

The greatest moment in modern American sports. With what was happening with the Cold War, the US boycotting the Moscow games, and the stacked Soviet team, it honestly had the makeup of something that nothing can top. 

Al Michaels pregame is still goosebumps worthy. “All of that manifests itself today in a hockey game here in Lake Placid”

Navy Wolverine

February 22nd, 2019 at 10:47 PM ^

The biggest break in that game was when USSR coach Viktor Tikhonov panicked and pulled Vladislav Tretiak - quite possibly the greatest goalie to ever play the game - in favor of the inexperienced Vladimir Myshkin after Team USA scored with 0:01 left in the 1st Period to tie the game at 2-2. The rest is obviously history.

To say Tikhonov was a tyrant is a massive understatement. He was universally despised by all the Russian players. 

Harbaugh's Lef…

February 22nd, 2019 at 10:55 PM ^

Despite not being born yet, the Miracle on Ice is easily my favorite sports moment of all time. What those college players accomplished that night, those Olympics is one of, if not the greatest, sporting feats of all time. 

Not just the fact that they beat the best hockey team in the world but were able to gather their composure and defeat the Finns to win the Gold two nights later is nothing short of incredible and a real testament to the focus and coaching instilled by Herb Brooks.

Walking into Herb Brooks Arena for the first time a few years ago, it was impossible not to be covered in goosebumps, visualizing where every second of the Miracle, a game that I’ve watched dozens of times in my life, took place.


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:59 PM ^

I watched it at home and knew the final score when I got to my school's basketball games that Friday night.  Three games - JV, girls, then varsity (7th-8th grades).  I was playing in the varsity game, and arrived in the middle go the girls game.  Told my friend the score, and he walked around to the scorers table and told them.  It was announced at the next game break - to a 4 minute long standing ovation!

Will never forget that feeling...


February 22nd, 2019 at 11:22 PM ^

The Miracle on Ice is just different. Conventional hockey rivalry and tension simply ceases to matter. 

I stop by the section of the Mariucci Arena concourse with an Olympic display and the murals. The Herb Brooks mural is great. I’m theoretically in enemy territory, but in that corner of the arena, we are all on the same team. 

Not unlike the Jesse Owens monument at Ferry Field. Something special about it. We may be rivals, but we’re on the same side. 

M and M Boys

February 22nd, 2019 at 11:46 PM ^

It was surreal...

I actually had an unused ticket next to me (a buddy missed his plane) and sat against the glass. When the game ended it began snowing as you walked out amid the festive crowd waving “Russia Get Out Of Afghanistan” placards.....

After the Gold Medal win over Finland (Russia would have won Gold if we’d lost) I managed to get a valuable seat at a little jam-packed bar across the street from the rink (Grasshoppers) and hours later ended up next to the Finland goalie who was drunk and surly and several of his teammates kept watch over him.

I bought him a schnapps...he has not thanked me yet....

It is a great, great memory!

M and M Boys

February 23rd, 2019 at 4:52 PM ^

XM wins the thread for his astute ESP and encyclopedically fueled information bank for knowing (no internet in1980) that the historic MIRACLE ON ICE drink—Kahlua and Tomato drink (shaken not stirred) was invented that very night February 22, 1980 in Grasshoppers  Bar in Lake Placid by me and a stewardess from Toronto named Chris I shared a bar stool with....unfortunately right after the launch we and others drank the bar out of Bloody Mary mix and Tomato Juice and Grasshoppers was still  out of both during the other national screaming  launch of the USA! USA! USA! Chant following the other 4-2 Miracle ON Ice win over Finland on Sunday, February 24th.

So, the drunk goalie from Finland got Schnapps because that what my new Sunday barstoolmate Inga (IBM/Sweden) and I were drinking.....

I still have the Lake Placid Olympic scarf I wore to all the games and the unused ticket from the Miracle On Ice game...

I have somehow misplaced Chris, Inga and the Finland goalie Jorma Valtonen....

But, again, I have my scarf, those great memories and the Miracle on Ice drink to keep me warm.

The real anniversary is tomorrow when USA incredibly followed up the “Miracle” win by scoring three goals in the final period to come from behind and get Jorma distraught and drunk right after the game at a local bar.....

Go Red, White and Go Blue!



Hotel Putingrad

February 23rd, 2019 at 12:21 AM ^

That was back when we were all Americans...


You can thank the Soviet Union's demise for the modern era's constant political bickering and partisanship.

In the absence of an existential threat, we have no one left to fight but ourselves. But what if...


Swayze Howell Sheen

February 23rd, 2019 at 1:43 PM ^

One of the fondest memories of my youth, watching with my dad. We couldn't believe it - those kids beating the pros. I can't forget the look on the Russian players' faces after; they weren't angry, they just looked amazed that someone else could so be enjoying a victory.


February 23rd, 2019 at 3:46 PM ^

Surprised no one has mentioned the infamous Bill Bonds fail.

Game was on tape delay; local broadcasting legend Bill Bonds (Ron Burgundy of Detroit) came on between 2nd and 3rd periods for a news update and announces the US beats USSR!

In those days it was easy to avoid hearing results early; I vividly remember the tension and excitement building through two periods - then idiot Bonds ruins the suspense.

Made the 3rd period much less nerve-wracking, but completely killed the magic.

yossarians tree

February 24th, 2019 at 11:08 AM ^

Great Bill Bonds story. I was a kid in that era and remember following the games on tape delay which is crazy now I think about it because it was eastern time zone.

What I remember about Bill Bonds is that my housemates and I while at Michigan in the early 80s would all come back from studying and classes at 6 o'clock to watch Bill Bonds deliver the news. He was so bad he was good. He was truly the original Ron Burgundy. We laughed and laughed. After which was maybe a couple hours of studying and then there were 40s of PBR and bong hits. Good times.