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Do You Believe In Miracles?

The amzing story of the exciting  hockey game in American History.


By Julia Tiernan

Do You Believe In Miracles

The amzing story of the exciting hockey game in American History.


By Julia Tiernan

To Mom, for always making sure im safe and warm when I go on the ice,- Sorry for always fighting you about wearing snowpants and not wearing a scarf when I was younger.


To Dad, For showing me the exciting game of hockey, teaching me how to hockey stop like the pros and what every different call means- sorry for talking so much during the Islander vs. Ranger game

Do you believe in miracles? If so or if not let me tell you something.



For years hockey has brought smiles to peoples faces, Playoffs have brought beards to men's faces so they don't jinx their team from winning the stanley cup and excitement to homes all around the world. Hockey has been very treasured to the world but this moment in American history could never have been more exciting.

On February 22, 1980 the United States of America won one of the most amazing hockey  games in sports history. The team made up of young college players ranging in age from 19-25 where from two rival colleges- Minnesota University and Boston University. During this period in time the world was not in good shape, the Soviet Union was invading Afghanistan and most Russians were boycotting the olympics, the US was supporting eastern country, South Vietnam in a fight against North Vietnam, South Vietnam believed that communism was wrong and where fighting against it.

Martin Luther King Jr.

To continue the struggle for the United States president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 while riding on a motorcade through Dallas Texas, about 5 years after his death the Civil Rights protests started, a famous man named Martin Luther King Jr. was an anti-violence protester a very famous quote from him was “I have a dream one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls” - Martin Luther King Jr. but on April 4, 1968 Martin Luther was assassinated while standing on a hotel balcony. Two months later John F Kennedy's brother Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 5.



Former President John F Kennedy 

 In addition, President Nixon had just ordered American troops to bomb Cambodia where many North Vietnamese troops were hiding, and college riots started happening all over the country- in Ohio state 4 people were killed and 9 were injured. Then, in Jackson Mississippi another college riot broke out killing 2 and injuring 9. With people questioning whether president Nixon should be in office, Richard Nixon resigns from office on August 8 in 1974.

Former President Nixon


With all of this caose do you still remembering we are still fighting in the Vietnam war? Well not for long, on April 30, 1975 South Vietnam loses the war against North Vietnam because South Vietnam surrendered.  58,000 soldiers were killed and 303,000 were wounded. Iran had just recently taken 60 hostages captive and after 444 days they were finally released.


North Vietnam Flag

South Vietnam Flag and solider surrendering

The olympics is a time to show your support to your country, being an American and winning something so prized as olympic gold can show what you are willing to do just to represent your country in one of the most viewed games ever.

Coach Herb Brooks was a coach who did many unique teaching techniques but they always paid off. “Herb has a reason for everything he does”- Miracle On Ice doctor George Nagobads  he always did things outside of the box and they always affected the players he coached in a good way.

Coach Herb made his players skate something called “Herbies” where they started at the goal line and skated to center ice and back and then the other goal line and back. As a pre olympic game team USA played Norway and lost 1-0, Norway was losing most of its game by many points, when they played Czechoslovakia they lost 11-0 in their second game against West Germany Norway again lost but this time 11-4. USA was also supposed to crush Norway but they didn't due to their lazy playing they lost, coach Herb Brooks made the whole team skate herbies for an extra 45 minutes after the game.  If you watch the movie Miracle On Ice the movie, a famous scene was when coach Herb Brooks said “again”several times to assistant coach Craig Patrick so that he would blow the whistle and they would start to skate.




Craig Patrick former USA  Hockey assistant Coach

Instead of having tryouts last for a week like most olympic teams do, Herb cut 41 of the of the 68 players who tried out on the first day! He could only have 22 players including 2 goalies so he had to cut the remaining players, but you would think that would be something simple (cut the bad players keep the good ones) but because Herb grew up In Minnesota if a player from Boston was cut people thought it was unfair. The cuts continued and sadly the final person cut was Ralph Cox.

Minnesota Fans

Boston Fans

Once Herb had a team of 22 he gave the players a 300 question psychological test to see how they do under pressure. Jim Craig the starting goaltender refused to take the test because he thought it was a waste of time also he was going through very tough times his Mom had just recently died and his Dad was very sick.


The real Olympic Games where right around the corner and the USA was determined to bring home a medal. Coach Brooks made his team watch the Soviet Union v.s the NHL all star game so they would know what they were facing. The Soviets won, 6-0. A couple of weeks

later as another practice game team USA played the Soviet Union and lost 10-3, Yikes.

The Soviets beat the NHL all-Star team 6-0!

The olympics finally came around and the USA was playing Sweden, Rob McClanahan injured his leg because he was checked into the boards awfully hard. In the locker room Herb said to him “what the hell happened to you?!” Rob didn't answered, Herb then said, “get your gear on” Rob answered, “but doc said I can’t play,” “yeah,yeah you got a bad bruise on the leg” as they continue to go back and forth herb then says “you know what a bruise on the leg is a hell of a long way from the heart, candy ass” that fired Rob up quite enough and before the end of that second intermission he was back playing on the ice.


The date was February 22, 1980 in Lake Placid NY, the Soviet Union was playing team USA in one of the final games for the winter olympics. Valery Kotov begins to bring the puck up from center ice he moves to the left now to the right, he shoots, he scores!! The score was 1-0 the soviets leading, then about 2 minutes later USA player Buzz Schneider scores and ties the score from 50 feet away at 15 mph!!




The score is now tied 1-1 as Sergei Makarov one of the famous players from the Union scores against Jim craig to clinch the lead 2-1, time was ticking and the first period was almost over, suddenly defensemen Ken Morrow gets control of a loose puck goes sprinting up to center ice and shoots a 24 mph shot from 80 feet away, that deflects off of Mark Johnson and its in!! With less than thirty seconds left US ties the score 2-2.






As the USA comes out and ready to fight after the first intermission they see the starting goaltender Vladislav Tretiak is being benched! This gave them confidence and hope that they could score against their second starter and that's exactly what the USA needed right now.


Then again the soviets take the lead 3-2 but not for long, For his second goal, Mark Johnson blasts the puck and scores tying the score once again 3-3. The game was getting more and more intense, a simple mistake from either team could cause the other team to score, everyone was at the edge of their seats.

About 90 seconds after Mark Johnson’s goal to tie the game Mark Pavelich swatted the puck as he crashed into the boards, the puck pops up, it’s anyones chance to get it, Mike Eruzione the captain for team USA gets control of it, blasts it into the net and scores!!! USA was finally leading the game!!


There was ten minutes left in the game, USA was trying to shut down the soviets so they couldn't score and they failed to do that, Jim Craig saved the team though, he made some of the hardest saves and he was probably one of the main reasons USA won. Yeah I said it, USA had beat the Soviets 4-3!!


After the games fans poured onto the ice, all singing, crying with tears of joy and cheering so loud they were all losing their voices. Reporters filled the locker rooms with cameras, smiles as people in the stadium started to sing “God Bless America.:” kids, state troopers, were all crying even the big man Herb Brooks shed some tears. Little do many people know that game against the Soviets was not for gold, the final game was against Finland the following week and USA won 7-2.

Jim Craig                 Mike Eruzione        Mark Johnson

Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig and Mark Johnson some of the most famous players from the 1980 US hockey team. Jim Craig the starting goaltender is now a motivational speaker and the Vice President of business development for the hat trick group. Mike Eruzione is another motivational speaker and is the director of the athletic department at Boston University. Lastly Mark Johnson is the head coach of the girls hockey team at the university of Wisconsin. All of these men are continuing to make people smile all over the world and that's why they are so famous.

   Their Lives After

Map Of Lake Placid NY