Everyone remembers the seminal scene in Miracle, when coach Herb Brooks is making the team skate until they can barely stand, and it’s not until Winthrop’s own Mike Eruzione steps forward and says “I play for the United States of America” that the drills are over. It’s implied that this moment united the team behind their captain and allowed them to play to their full potential, eventually shocking the world by defeating the Soviet powerhouse.
Now, in real life, that never actually happened. However, the fact was that the team did unite and begin their historic run following that difficult skate, and Mike Eruzione was in fact their captain. This is why he is our latest Boston Sports Legend.
The 1980 US Olympic Team’s legacy was born when they defeated the Soviet Union in Lake Placid, to advance to the Gold Medal game. With 10 minutes remaining in a 3-3 tie, Eruzione slipped one past Soviet backup goaltender Vladimir Myshkin for a lead they would not relinquish. It was a goal and a victory that sent shockwaves across the sports landscape and changed many lives…perhaps none more than Eruzione’s.
The day after the Gold Medal win, Mike got on a plane to New York City to appear on Good Morning America, and in some ways he never came back. He embarked on a new career- the career of being Mike Eruzione.
Mike began his new chapter on television covering NHL and Olympic hockey, appearing on a number of networks. He would go on to appear on Gameshows, appear at the 2002 Olympic torch lighting, appear at the RNC in 2012, and he still appears at countless golf tournaments.
Mike will also appear at your corporate events, as he became a motivational speaker. I haven’t had the pleasure of attending, but I imagine he can extrapolate an astonishing amount of life and/or business advice from the experience of scoring the last goal against Russia 38 years ago.
It’s also been noted that Eruzione is “a member of several halls of fame”, which would no doubt have required the Pride of Winthrop to take the time to appear the various dinners and ceremonies, so he could properly be honored. This is wholly unsurprising, as he is absolutely a man of the people. When Mike Eruzione is invited to be a guest at a dinner, he’ll be there.
Eruzione does have a day job, with his Alma Mater, BU. Roughly 20 years ago, then University President John Silber created a position for Mike- Director of Special Outreach, a position he still holds. Efforts to define the scope and duties of this position have come up empty. This seems appropriate. You couldn’t possibly define the impact Mike Eruzione has had on BU, just as you can’t define the impact he’s had on American Sports.
Please join me, and HTTA in honoring our latest Boston Sports Legend, Mike Eruzione.