Reliving the Miracle on Ice

Updated: 02/19/2014 5:51 PM
Created: 02/19/2014 4:25 PM WHEC.com
By: Scott Kilbury

Team USA’s defeat of Russia at the Sochi Olympics is being called the biggest U.S. Hockey win since the 1980 Miracle on Ice. While that remains to be seen, you can relive that historic win with a trip to Lake Placid.

The Herb Brooks arena is where many say the United States’ win was the beginning of the fall of the Soviet Union. Whatever it is called, it is now known as the Miracle on Ice.

It was 34 years ago that a group of college aged kids who were given no chance against the dominant Soviets shocked the world in the semifinals of the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Winter Games.

Jon Lundin, Olympic Regional Development Authority, said, “The country wasn't feeling too good about itself.  It needed something to make it feel better and a group of college kids were here in the right time and right place and things just came together and that’s what the country needed and grab on to and feel good.”

Such an historic win, you’d think the arena would be roped off and preserved. 

Lundin said, “The arena is open for hockey clubs or aspiring Olympians or high school or college age kids.  This building is in use every day.”

On this day, a business group in the area used the facilities as a team building exercise, but it was more than that.

Cliff Beairstill said, “To know history happened here is special. It's a fun place to come.>

Visitors can get a close up view of Locker Room 5, where Team USA Coach Herb Brooks gave that motivating pregame speech that is now immortalized on the wall.

The movie, Miracle, keeps the memory alive especially for those too young to have witnessed the event.

Dan Liljaberg said, “It's great. My kids play. They watch Miracle and play on the ice. It's a big deal. They weren't around it's a big deal absolutely.”

The arena has never been expanded. It still seats 7,700 people, but on that glorious day in 1980, no one was sitting. The announcers were right there with them, in section four, eye level to where Jim Creig, the American goalie who would turn back shot after shot from the Soviets.

When we come back to this little Olympic center, we relive what we were doing where we were. In 1980, for everybody, it was a unique experience.”

It's hard to believe that it was 34 years ago that the Miracle on ice happened in this little place of Lake Placid.”

The coach of this year's Russian Olympic hockey team was a member of that 1980 Russian team.  He told Al Michaels in an interview last week he still remembers the game and admits they deserved to lose.

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