Mike Eruzione says he’s not in need of money. Even though he didn’t really cash in immediately after his goal beat the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics, he’s done well in the nearly 33 years that have passed. He still gets paid to speak about what that team accomplished in Lake Placid. Still, the prospect of adding a couple million dollars or more to the family assets by just cleaning out the attic was hard to pass up.
The upset win during the Cold War did wonders for the national psyche and the gold medal ‘Miracle on Ice’ team’s accomplishment is still on the Mt. Rushmore of great American sports moments. That’s why bidding on the jersey he wore that Friday is expected to top $1 million. The gold medal game jersey and the stick he used to beat the Russians will both bring well into six figures as well. In an interview with ESPN, however, Eruzione says the auction will include a variety of items from the Winter Olympics.
Eruzione’s game-worn gloves, shoulder pads, opening ceremony uniform, the warm up suit he was wearing when he stood on the podium to accept the gold medal…even the sweat suit that he wore when he tried out for the team are being sold.
“I am concerned with the public’s perception but I think people will come to understand why I’m doing it,” he said.
Heritage Auctions will make them the centerpiece of its Winter Platinum Night Auction in New York City in February of next year, coinciding with the 33rd anniversary of the historic weekend.
Eruzione insists he won’t sell his gold medal and his Olympic ring and admitted that the historic items have been sitting in his attic, inside the original equipment bag he carried them in.
The newsmaking auction that brought Canadian hero Paul Henderson $1.2 million for the jersey he wore while scoring the goal that secured Canada’s 1972 victory over the Red Army team helped Eruzione make the decision to sell. He says he will use the proceeds from the auction as a nest egg to help his children and grandchildren and hinted at a charity aspect as well.
Eruzione admitted to consulting with his former teammates but all indicated support for his decision to sell and were curious to know what they might be able to get for their memorabilia. Earlier this year, Ken Morrow’s jersey from the game against the Soviets sold at auction for $104,000 and his gloves for $6,000.