Mike Eruzione became one of the most recognizable figures in American hockey.
The former ice hockey star was the captain of the 1980 Winter Olympics U.S. national team that defeated the Soviet Union in what became known as the “Miracle on Ice” game.
Eruzione recently took issue with a Massachusetts high school’s decision to remove its annual “USA Day.” He recently joined Dan Dakich on OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me” show to discuss rallying behind American athletes.
“I’ve said this many, many times. Other than representing your country in the military, the greatest thing you could do is put a U.S. jersey and represent your country in a sporting event,” Eruzione said when asked if he believe the country would get behind a team if something similar to the “Miracle on Ice” moment happened today.
“Whatever that sporting event might be. And I think we take great pride in watching our athletes compete… representing the country.”
Eruzione added that the now-iconic American hockey team was simply trying to become champions.
“That was never our intention in 1980… it wasn’t about politics, it was about winning a tournament. I think the setup with us then, was, yes, we were in a difficult time in our country… similar as we’re dealing with today…. maybe not as bad as (what) we’re are dealing with today. And the country was looking for something to feel good about.”
“They were tired of all the (negativity)… We as a country were looking for something and all of a sudden we come along.”
It is difficult to tell the story of the “Miracle on Ice” without acknowledging the parallel story of growing American discontent amid the Cold War and the Iran hostage crisis.
“It was a time when the United States and Americans were proud to wave a flag, where prior to that we weren’t sure. And I think that’s the situation we might be in right now.” Eruzione cautioned.
Longtime sportscaster Al Michaels’ “Do you believe in miracles?” in the final second of the unexpected victory has been replayed countless times over the past four decades. The moment capped what is widely considered the most famous hockey game in history.
Team USA entered the game as considerable underdogs. In many ways, the Americans were considered “David” going up against a “Goliath” in the Soviets, who had won the previous four Olympic gold medals in hockey entering the matchup.
In the 16 world championships played between 1961 and 1979, the Soviets took home 12 gold medals – making the Americans’ upset even more impressive.