Yes, there is crying in Olympic hockey. New U.S. Olympic coach Dan Bylsma told reporters at his introductory press conference on Saturday that he cried watching the movie “Miracle” after he found out he would be leading the American team in Sochi.
“A few days ago, I was back in Michigan at the cottage, and my son (Bryan) and his cousin were watching ‘Miracle,’ and they did not know yet that I was going to be named the head coach of the team,” Bylsma told reporters in New York on Saturday. “The scene where (1980 U.S. Olympic coach) Herb (Brooks) is in the kitchen, and he’s having a conversation with his wife, I’m like, ‘That’s me. That’s my wife, Mary Beth.’ I watched half of that movie with just really freshly knowing that I was going to be the head coach of the team. That’s kind of a surreal little moment there.”
Pittsburgh Penguins coach Bylsma, 42, won the Stanley Cup in 2009 and the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 2011. He led the Penguins to the Eastern Conference finals this season and hopes to bring USA Hockey its first men’s Olympic gold since that 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team. The U.S. won silver medals in two of the last three Olympics, falling to Canada in the gold-medal game both times.
The U.S. and Russia are guaranteed to face off in Sochi. They’re both in Group A, along with Slovakia and Slovenia, the only of the three groups that includes three quarterfinalists from the Vancouver Olympics.