All but two players from the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team will gather for a 40th anniversary weekend in Las Vegas, an event organizer said.
“Relive the Miracle,”, reminiscent of a 35th anniversary celebration in Lake Placid, N.Y., in 2015, will be Feb. 21-22 in Las Vegas.
“Back then [in 2015], we had talked about doing it again,” said Jeff Holbrook, who helped organize the 35th and 40th anniversary events. “We’ve been sort of talking about it on and off since that time. Getting the [players] to be on board, I certainly don’t want to say it was easy because it’s never easy when you’re dealing with that many different people, but I think everybody knew when you pack a place like Like Placid with 10,000 people, you know the concept is there. So I think getting them behind it wasn’t hard to do.”
Eighteen of the 20 players on the Miracle on Ice roster committed, including captain Mike Eruzione and goalie Jim Craig, Holbrook said.
The weekend will be missing defenseman Bob Suter, who died in 2014, and forward Mark Pavelich, who was jailed last year on assault charges and ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial.
The 35th anniversary included all living team members gathering for the first time since coach Herb Brooks‘ death in 2003. The only other full reunion since 1980 was for an NHL All-Star weekend event in Los Angeles in 2002. When the team lit the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic cauldron, it was missing Mike Ramsey and Pavelich.
The 40th anniversary weekend kicks off with a two-hour Vegas Golden Knights season-ticket holder event at Brooklyn Bowl on Feb. 21, a Friday night. Holbrook said it sold out in 16 minutes.
Then on Saturday, Holbrook said the goal is for 12,000 people to attend an event at the Thomas & Mack Center on the exact 40th anniversary of the 4-3 win over the Soviet Union.
That “will feature the team on stage with an interactive display of video, audio, memorabilia and never-before-seen components from their Olympic triumphs. A celebrity emcee will moderate conversations between the players, celebrities, and NHL stars as the team takes you through the Miracle on Ice with behind-the-scenes information and stories that chronicle ‘what really happened,'” according to a press release.
Differences from 2015 include the addition of 1980 U.S. Olympic assistant coach Craig Patrick and plans for an element from the Soviet perspective. Holbrook also said there will be celebrity involvement from both the hockey and non-hockey realms. Holbrook, a managing partner for Potentia Athletic Partners whose clients have included Wayne Gretzky, would not reveal specifics but said “the names are substantial.”
Finally, the 1980 team members will be honored during the Golden Knights game versus the Florida Panthers at T-Mobile Arena that Saturday night.
“The tentacles of the Miracle on Ice are so vast,” Holbrook said. “People from different walks of life, whether it’s rock bands or movie stars or politicians, whatever it is, have all been affected by it.”
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