Miracle On Ice Reunion in Lake Placid

Miracle On Ice Reunion in Lake Placid

All members of the 1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team will be in Lake Placid this weekend for a 35th reunion of their “Miracle on Ice” victory..

“For us, this was such an important moment in time, not only for Lake Placid but for the entire country,” said ORDA Communications Manager Jon Lundin. “We continue to thrive on the Miracle on Ice, and we continue to do what we do because of that. This is an opportunity to recognize those players for what they accomplished 35 years ago and, in a way, to thank them for what they did for Lake Placid and for ORDA on that day.”

That day was Feb. 22, 1980. A young U.S. team edged the highly rated Soviet team 4-3 before beating Finland to win the gold medal.

After the Olympics, New York state formed ORDA to operate the 1932 and 1980 Olympic venues as tourist attractions. Members of the Miracle on Ice team have visited the rink on their own since that game. And in 2005, to honor the 25th anniversary of the games, many team members attended the “Miracles, Memories and Magic” program with 5,000 spectators and heard Gov. George Pataki announce that the 1980 Olympic Fieldhouse was being named the Herb Brooks Arena.

Herb Brooks, the famed coach of the Miracle on Ice team, died on Aug. 11, 2003 at the age of 66 in a car accident in Minnesota.

“This will be a first,” 1980 U.S. hockey team player Dave Christian said of ORDA’s upcoming “Relive the Miracle” program. “The only other time we were together was when Herb Brooks passed away, and at his wake. Certainly different circumstances.”

Jeff Holbrook of Potentia Athletic Partners worked with ORDA staff and team members to orchestrate the “Relive the Miracle” event. As the operator of a sports marketing agency, he works with big-time athletes and began having conversations with NHL?officials, members of the 1980 hockey team – Christian and Mike Ramsey – and Wayne Gretzky a year ago about an event to celebrate the Miracle on Ice.

“I sort of took it upon myself to say, ‘Let’s do a reunion event,'” Holbrook said. “It is the 35th anniversary. Let’s get together and try to bring everyone up there to the place where it happened and talk about it. The guys were excited about it, and I was excited about it.”

Christian said he’s looking forward to the reunion.

“It’s a chance to get back,” he said. “Lake Placid’s a special place. … There are so many great memories of every trip we had to Lake Placid.”

As Holbrook was planning the event, the death of a 1980 teammate illustrated the need to hold a reunion sooner rather than later.

“We’re running out of opportunities to do things like this because frankly we’re all still alive and able to do that,” Holbrook said. “In the course of that, Bob Suter passed, and that is a harsh reminder that none of us are here forever.”

The evening will include a tribute to Suter, who died in September. A permanent No. 20 jersey will be raised to the rafters of the 1980 Rink to honor him.

The event

The “Relive the Miracle” reunion will start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21 in the 1980 Rink. ORDA would like to see 5,000 tickets sold, according to Lundin. Attendees are encouraged to wear authentic 1980 Winter Olympic memorabilia.

“We’ve all seen the movie ‘Miracle,’ and that gives a pretty good story of how this team came together and what they went through,” Lundin said. “That was done on a big screen. This is an opportunity for people to really learn firsthand from the players themselves what that process was like, what that ordeal was like.”

Asked what spectators can expect, Holbroook said, “the greatest show on Earth.” Emceed by Emmy Award winner Todd Walsh, who has worked with FOX Sports Arizona since 2001, the program will include audio, video, interviews, testimonials, memorabilia and memos from Herb Brooks to the players that have never been seen before in public.

“There’s going to be a veritable potpourri of things that will hit their senses that will make for a very special night,” Holbrook said. “It’s basically an experience.”

General admission will be $19.80, and VIP tickets are $250. They are available at www.miracleonicereunion.com and at the Olympic Center box office.

The event is part of the 8th annual Hockey Weekend Across America, a three-day nationwide celebration of the sport that begins on Friday, Feb. 20. As part of the final day of HWAA on Sunday, NBC presents its Hockey Day in America broadcast coverage, featuring an NHL tripleheader, with a live studio show throughout the day and night from Lake Placid.

“I’m lucky enough to have been around some of the greatest athletes of all time and some of the greatest events of all time, and there’s nothing to me, after all that, that evokes the passion and the goodwill that this does,” Holbrook said of the Feb. 21 event. “I’m proud and honored to be a part of it.”

In his famous Miracle on Ice locker room speech to the team, Coach Brooks said, “Great moments are born from great opportunity. … You were born to be hockey players, everyone of you. You were meant to be here tonight. This is your time.”

Feb. 21 will be their time again, in Lake Placid.