Saturday marks four decades since Team U.S.A. famously defeated the Soviet Union in the Feb. 22, 1980, hockey match held in Lake Placid, New York

By Benjamin VanHoose
February 21, 2020 01:50 PM
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The athletes that pulled off the “Miracle on Ice” will now see if their luck extends past the rink.

Saturday marks four decades since Team U.S.A. famously defeated the Soviet Union in the Feb. 22, 1980, hockey match held in Lake Placid, New York. To celebrate the anniversary, several members of the triumphant underdog Olympic squad are reuniting for a weekend trip to Las Vegas.

“I’m just so proud to be part of that team, doing something nobody thought we could do,” Neal Broten told WCCO. “I think back at all the times we walked to the rink as kids, and skated six or seven hours at the rink.”

Broten added, “They paid off in the long run. To win a gold medal, I still can’t believe it.”

Buzz Schneider also told the outlet that he and his teammates are “surprised, all of us, at just how long it’s resonated.” The iconic match was named the No. 1 greatest moment in sports history by Sports Illustrated.

“Miracle on Ice,” 1980
| Credit: Steve Powell /Getty
“Miracle on Ice,” 1980

The inspiring story was dramatized in the 2004 movie Miracle, which starred Kurt Russell as coach Herb Brooks, who died in a car accident in 2003 at the age of 66, according to The New York Times.

“Certainly as a group, we became great friends and that certainly had a lot to do with not just [our] playing hockey ability but the friendships — a lot to do with how well we did in 1980,” John Harrington told WCCO.

Al Michaels — whose announcing “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” at the time of the victory became just as iconic as the win itself — recently reflected on the historical impact of the match.

“I’ll think back upon it always, as it galvanized the country,” he said, according to the Chicago Tribune. ”It was an event that brought people together.”

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From left: John Harrington, Phil Verchota, Buzz Schneider and Rob McClanahan in 2015
| Credit: Mike Groll/AP/Shutterstock

Michaels added of his statements staying power: “In those years, nobody had a home video machine, so this is not something you think lives forever. Now, of course, anything anybody says gets played 18 gazillion times, but that was never a thought back in 1980.”

In Vegas, this weekend, the original team members will be hosted by NHL’s Golden Knights for celebrations, including a moderated panel discussion.

“We are sincerely excited and honored to be hosted by the Vegas Golden Knights and the City of Las Vegas for this important anniversary,” said 1980 team captain Mike Eruzione in a press release. “We rarely get the chance to get together as a full team, and have never told some of the stories that only we know about the Miracle on Ice, so this will be a memorable night for us and fans of the Miracle.”