Wow, has it really been 38 years? It is crazy how quickly time flies! Right now, I am in the car with my wife trekking through a snow storm in upstate New York to go back to the place where all the magic happened; Lake Placid, New York. I woke up today so excited after the huge shoot-out victory the US women’s hockey team had over their longtime rivals Team Canada. Right from the beginning of the game you could feel the energy – these women on both teams have been huge role models for women’s hockey all over the world and the US had some unfinished business to take care of. If Canada would have won last night, they would have been the first team in men’s or women’s Olympic hockey to have won 5 straight Olympics – the first time a team has been in that position since the Soviets at the 1980 Olympic games. The determination, grit, hard work, discipline and togetherness of Team USA reminded me a lot of our 1980 team. February 22nd will forever be a day marked in the history of USA hockey.
Today I feel nostalgic – I can’t wait to go back into locker room #5 and stand at center ice and close my eyes and remember. Remember that moment in history, that moment that forever changed my life. Going into the game we were considered the underdogs and were predicted to get dominated by the Soviet Olympic team like we did a few weeks prior at Madison Square Garden. However, people do not understand that Herb Brooks had been preparing for that game way before the Olympic team was even chosen. He knew how to change the way we played and how to defeat the unstoppable Russian team. Going into the Olympics we knew that we were going to be the best conditioned team. Herb’s famous line was, “The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen” and he meant it. He thought our team how to train, think, and play differently. He was a leader that pulled greatness out of everyone in different ways without us even knowing he was doing it. He took 20 individuals from having the same dream and turned it into a shared dream. During the Soviet game, I treated each period like it was a full game and broke down the period into three sections. In between each period, I would take off my equipment and put it back on to refocus for the next period – forgetting what had happened the period before. Anyone on our team will tell you that after we took the lead we knew the game was far from over. Herb trained us to be mentally prepared for anything that came our way. Together we stood as one unit and showed the world why the United States should never be underestimated. It is so humbling that our game 38 years ago is still relevant today and that people still feel inspired by it. The beauty of what our team accomplished in Lake Placid was way beyond a hockey game – it was felt across the nation and it gave hope to people to take risks and to believe in the impossible. In the words of Herb Brooks, “Great moments are born from great opportunities” so make sure you are taking full advantage of every opportunity and do not be intimidated by the impossibility but motivated by the possibility.