Mike Eruzione, captain of the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team, spoke to Lasell students on December 11 to speak about the “Miracle On Ice” and other hockey topics. The talk was hosted by Dr. Dwayne Thomas and the Sports Management department in collaboration with Political Science professor Paul Debole.
Eruzione, a Winthrop native, joined the Olympic team after playing for Boston University and the Toledo Goaldiggers of the International Hockey League. The 1980 Olympic team was the youngest in history with an average age of 21-years-old.
“People didn’t think we had a chance,” said Eruzione. “But we had incredible work ethic.” The Soviet Union was the heavy favorite, as the roster featured superstar talent, most of who played professionally. The Soviets defeated the Americans, 10-3 in an exhibition game three days before the Olympics began. USA was ranked 7th going into the Winter Games, as the Soviet Union was the top seed.
In the semifinal game, the US and Soviets were tied at three when Eruzione scored the eventual game-winning goal with 10 minutes remaining in the game. USA shocked the Soviets and the world with their 4-3 victory. They would go on to defeat Finland 4-2 to capture the gold medal.
The historic game was depicted in the Disney film “Miracle,” starring Kurt Russell as coach Herb Brooks. Eruzione said the film was about 80 percent accurate, adding, “Herb was more intense.”
Despite the monumental victory, Eruzione said the greatest moment of the 1980 Winter Olympics was simply getting the opportunity. “My special moment was walking in the opening ceremony,” said Eruzione. “To put on the jersey with the ‘USA’ across the front is amazing.”
Eruzione currents works at Boston University as the Director of Special Outreach and within the development office.