Bob Suter, a defenseman on the 1980 U.S. Olympic champion hockey team, died at age 57 on Tuesday.
Suter was part of the team’s inspiring run to Olympic hockey gold in Lake Placid. The U.S. upset four-time reigning Olympic champion Soviet Union and then defeated Finland in the last game.
“It really didn’t hit me until we got up on the platform with [Mike] Eruzione to get our gold medals,” Suter told the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1981. “Then, I realized we had done something special, something that we could never ever do again. We could never beat the Russians again. Not even if we played them two-out-of-three.”
Suter did not play in the game against the Soviet Union due to a gimpy ankle, according to the book, “The Boys of Winter,” about the team.
“Suter spent the game at the end of the bench, in a snit, but kept it to himself for the good of the team,” it read.
After the Olympics, Suter never played in the NHL but opened Suter’s Gold Medal Sports & Bait store in Madison, Wis., where he played college hockey. Tourists would drive hours out of their way to meet him at the store, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1995.
“Most of them want to talk about the Soviet game,” Suter told the newspaper. “After all this time, it hasn’t died out.”
Suter and his Miracle on Ice teammates lit the 2002 Olympic cauldron in Salt Lake City.
Suter’s son, Ryan, played on the U.S. Olympic teams in 2010 and 2014. His brother, Gary, played on the 1998 and 2002 U.S. Olympic teams. Ryan and Gary won silver medals.
Suter is the first member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to pass away. The team’s coach, Herb Brooks, died in a car accident on Aug. 11, 2003.