Patriotic feelings spread all around
For anyone old enough to remember, it would be impossible not to fill with patriotism at the image of Mike Eruzione at the podium at Lake Placid. The charismatic captain of the U.S. hockey team refused to accept the gold medal alone, instead motioning for all of his teammates to join him. The underdog squad had shocked the powerhouse Soviet team, along with the rest of the world, in was Sports Illustrated called “The Greatest Moment of the Century.”
On this Fourth of July, Eruzione said another “Miracle on Ice” could occur this winter in Salt Lake City. And he’s not simply being patriotic. He’s being true to his school and former coach.
As many as seven former Boston University alumni, including potential captain Chris Drury of the Colorado Avalanche, could be donning the red, white and blue, who will be coached by Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 squad.
“I’ve coached a lot of these guys since they were in high school and college,” Eruzione said. “I will root like hell for them. There is a chance for them to do something very special.”
Indeed, the only other time the U.S. captured the gold was also on American soil, up the road at Squaw Valley in the 1960 Games.
After Eruzione took home the gold, he was given a lifetime pass at his home golf course in Winthrop Country Club in Massachusetts. A close-to-scratch golfer, Eruzione has played in all 12 Celebrity Golf Championships.
“Every year it’s exciting waiting for the invitation to come in the mail,” he said. “When it does come, you want to call somebody and tell them.”
In 2000, Eruzione shot a 237, finishing among the top third of the field.
“I shot real well here last year,” he said. “If I keep my scores in the 70s, it’s a good tournament for me.”
A member of the school’s Hall of Fame, Eruzione has remained close to Boston hockey. He works as the director of development for BU athletics.
His top project is the construction of a new hockey arena, and he is well aware of the tumultuous times Tahoe has had getting an ice rink built.
Several years ago, Eruzione donated some Olympic memorabilia in a fund-raising effort for the South Lake Tahoe ice rink that was open briefly in 1997. South Shore residents voted last year to fund a new ice rink at the same location on Rufus Allen Boulevard.
“To be honest, I am very disappointed that a rink hasn’t been built yet,” he said. “There are a lot of kids in this town and more boys and girls are playing hockey now then they ever did.”
Eruzione said the key to the U.S. team’s success will be getting good play from defensemen and goalie.
“Defender is a position we need to fill,” Eruzione said. “Our forwards are as good as any in the world. We’re just getting better and better. This team has a chance to win it all, especially with the skill level up front.”
And, of course, there’s Coach Brooks, who has been working as a scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“What better guy could you have?” Eruzione asked. “How can you not want to play for that man after seeing what he orchestrated with us?”
It would be impossible to forget.
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