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The Daddy of All Miracles
Mike Eruzione, the guy that beat the Russians, has two kids on ice.

By Tom Zenner
(12/14/00)

Recently Al Michaels uttered the phrase, "Do you believe in miracles?" He was referring to Dennis Miller saying something on Monday Night Football that actually made sense and had relevance to what was going on in the game. Twenty years ago, Al used the same call to describe the American Olympic hockey team's stunning win over the mighty Soviet Union. This was when Russian hockey players were known for more than trying to get into Anna Kournikova's tennis shorts.

It was literally one of the greatest moments in American sports history and the guy that scored the winning goal in the game is still living large in Boston. Mike Eruzione now serves as a special assistant to the Boston University hockey program which he starred for in the late 1970's. He also gives motivational speeches around the country and basically just enjoys a great life that was made possible because of that game winning goal way back in 1980. "It was a great feeling of pride, knowing first of all that you were an Olympic athlete, then to win a gold medal in your own backyard made it even that much greater," Eruzione said.

The Red White and Blue's shocking win wasn't the only surprising thing that historic night. How about the fact that the Russians were trying to talk trash. In English. Think Yakov Smirnoff meets Gary Payton. "They knew some of the English words. That might surprise you," Eruzione said. "They knew some of the more vulgar profanity words we have in this country."

1980 was the heart of the Cold War and tensions between the two countries were so high that the U.S. boycotted the Summer games in Moscow. Living conditions in the old Soviet Union weren't that great for national disgraces, which is how the country treated the hockey team when they returned without the gold. Eruzione wasn't exactly worried about possibly sending them to a labor camp in Siberia though. "We were just glad we beat them and whatever happened to them happened to them. I didn't think we'd seem them again.

Eruzione actually did see a couple of his old rivals again however. He went to Russia in the early 1980's to promote the new board game Trivial Pursuit, where he made appearances with some of the Russian star players. "One of the questions was who scored the winning goal in the 1980 Olympics. I got that one right."

"What he's trying to do right now is raise his kids in his hometown where he as attained legendary status. And yes, his two boys are trying to carry on the family name on the rink. His older son is a sophomore on his high school team, and his 12-year old is on the pee wee team that Mike helps coach. "I've always tried to downplay what I did on the ice. What they do is what they do and I never expect them to do anything I accomplished. My hope is that they turn out to be good kids and work hard. I think the kids are proud of what their dad did-that's part of it. But they realize I'm just dad."
To hockey fans around the country however, he'll always be the guy that beat the Russians.




Tom Zenner is a television sportscaster for Fox and a free-lance writer in Boston. He has a two-and-a-half year old daughter named Brooke.






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