Members of the gold medal 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The 'Miracle' Will Not Be Forgotten
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - If the United States Hockey Team defeats Russia on Saturday, it won't be considered a miracle.
But for many, seeing the two teams clash will bring back memories of the 1980 Miracle on Ice team, who defeated the Soviet Union on their way to a gold medal.
Can the same be said for the team on the ice? Not one player who will skate Saturday morning was even born the last time the US won gold. Despite that, Craig Patrick, an Assistant Coach of the 1980 team and current Assistant GM for the Buffalo Sabres, says that even though it was 34 years ago, players today are still inspired.
"I watched an interview this morning with (USA team members) Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, and the both said that they think about that all the time," Patrick said. "They weren't born at the time but their parents were. Ryan (Suter)'s dad was on the '80 team. So they know well what it means to USA Hockey. They want a gold medal this year so they can be a part of hockey history in the US."
If it wasn't for the 1980 team, American players in Sochi might not be aspiring for Gold. "That's the goal all the time is to win a gold medal because of what the team in '80 did. The (gold medal winning) 1960 team inspired me when I was a kid. Those things stick with you all through your life."
Saturday's game between the two teams also won't have the same political undertones as America's victory did during the Cold War, but that doesn't mean the rivalry is dead between the two sides. "I think it's more intense than it was in 1980," Patrick said of the US-Russia rivalry. "Our expectations then weren't what the expectations of this team are. Our expectation was to win a medal, the gold seemed out of reach. This group of people... they can compete with all the top countries in the world, and they know that."
The US takes on Russia Saturday morning. Faceoff is set for 7:30AM.