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"Miracle On Ice" Reunion: In Their Own Words

By Jason Franchuk | Feb. 22, 2015, 9:53 p.m. (ET)

Members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey Team gathered for a 35-year anniversary at Herb Brooks Arena on Feb. 22, 2015 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- All 19 living members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team — those who pulled off the so-called “Miracle on Ice” — reunited Saturday at the small arena in picturesque Lake Placid, New York, where they upset the heavily favored Soviet Union 4-3 and then went on to win a gold medal.

The 35-year reunion, dubbed “Relive the Miracle,” marked the first time the whole group gathered at the site of the hallowed Herb Brooks Arena, which is named today for the late coach who guided Team USA in those Winter Games.

Here's a collection of quotes from the day, as players remembered what they were thinking and feeling as 20-somethings on the unlikeliest of stages, and how they view those accomplishments now.

Opening statement:

“Happy anniversary. Thirty-five years ago here in Lake Placid, a bunch of highly skilled and motivated went about crafting one of the greatest stories — not just sports stories — but one of the greatest stories every told. The ‘Miracle on Ice’ is firmly entrenched in American culture, and it continues to grow roots, I think, far beyond the boundaries of here in Lake Placid and the fabled and hallowed rink that housed the game. Yet it is clear to me, upon my first-ever visit here, that this moment, this rare ‘where-were-you-when’ iconic moment will forever be linked to this place, this rink, and with the people who live in this community. They're so proud, and deservedly so. This is their home. And this is the home of the ‘Miracle on Ice.’”
-Todd Walsh, the Arizona Coyotes’ broadcaster and upstate New York native who emceed the event

On the ‘Miracle on Ice’ team’s legacy today:

“In sports in general, most people like to root for the underdog. We were definitely that. We were aware of the political situation in the world, but for us it truly was a game — a great challenge. We were up against one of the best teams that had ever been put together. But we continue to be amazed that it has carried on, lived on … It gave people a sense of feeling good. I don’t know — when you think about it, you can’t help but smile. It gives everybody good feelings.”
-U.S. forward Dave Christian

“I think the 1980 team helped springboard American players a little bit, because certainly a lot of the team members went on to the NHL — if you want to call that the litmus test. A lot of people went on to long, successful careers. I’d like to think that this team opened things up a little bit.”
-U.S. forward Phil Verchota

“For 35 years, we’ve been blown away by the response to our victory.”
-U.S. captain Mike Eruzione, who scored the game-winning goal

On his favorite memory of the 1980 Winter Games outside of hockey:

“It was fun for me to trade some pins. Being in the village with my parents. And my buddy showed up. He hitchhiked all the way up here from Minneapolis.”
-U.S. forward Eric Strobel

On his most meaningful souvenir from that night:

Sports Illustrated has always been the sports magazine. I think we had two covers probably, right? It’s one more thing I can add to the list of things I’ve been able to do — I was on the cover.”
-U.S. defenseman Ken Morrow

Favorite (Herb) Brooks-isms:

“Weave, weave, weave, but don’t weave for the sake of weaving.”
-U.S. forward John Harrington

“Steve Christoff was playing worse and worse every day, and right now you’re playing like next week.”

“Respect the game of hockey. If you do, it will reward you in many ways.” (Brooks in a memo to players leading up to Olympic training camp.)
-U.S. forward Buzz Schneider

On his proudest accomplishment outside hockey:

“Being married for 33 years and having a couple of daughters is pretty nice. They’re healthy. I mean, it was fun playing in the NHL for a bunch of years, but I’d say family is what I’m proud of.”
-U.S. forward Neal Broten, who played 17 seasons in the NHL

On Eruzione’s game-winning goal:

“You know, I could probably score this myself. But as a great teammate of Mike’s, our captain, why don’t I pass it to him and let him make millions in the next 35 years.”
-Harrington, who helped set up the play

“Open, closed, it didn’t matter. It went right where it was supposed to be.”
-Eruzione, when teammates chide him for having his "eyes closed" when he took said game-winning shot

Jason Franchuk is a writer from the Albany, New York, area. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.