The family of 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks has consigned more than three dozen pieces of memorabilia from his long career to Heritage Auctions. The items are being offered in the company’s current Winter Platinum Night event in New York.
The lots cover Brooks’ storied tenure at the helm of Team USA, as well as touching on his own days as a player and his time at the helm of the University of Minnesota Hockey team.
Among the items up for bid is Brooks’ 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ ring, presented after the team upset the heavily favored Soviet Union squad in Lake Placid and then dispatched Finland in the gold medal game. The current high bid is $17,000. The ring is the third example Heritage has offered, with those issued to players Mark Pavelich and Mark Wells appearing at auction in the last few years.
“We’d consider this to be the most significant of all rings issued to that celebrated pack of underdogs,” said Heritage Auctions Director Chris Ivy, “The one worn by the man who gave birth to the greatest moment in American sports history. It’s also important to note that the Olympic gold medal ring was the only symbol of victory that Brooks initially received for the Miracle on Ice. He was eventually awarded a gold medal from the USOC, but it is not standard practice and only done after a groundswell of support.”
Brooks’ intense preparation and planning are credited for much of the U.S. team’s success and his 1980 player file and day planner notebooks are being offered in the auction. Made up of three volumes, Brooks personal notes address everything from assembly of the player roster, to practice and competition scheduling, to the lengthy victory lap of banquets and television appearances as a conquering hero in the aftermath of the Lake Placid Games.
A coach’s practice jacket and pants, whistle and the stopwatch Brooks used during preparations for the Olympics conjure up memories of the intense paces he put his young collegians through in the months leading up to the Games for anyone who may have watched the movie “Miracle” starring Kurt Russell as Brooks.
Other items being offered are Brooks’ 1968 game-worn Olympic hockey team jersey, when he captained the U.S. squad, his 1960s game-worn international team jersey, his 1974 and 1976 University of Minnesota NCAA championship rings and the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ring presented to Brooks’ family at his posthumous election.
Brooks died in a single vehicle traffic accident while serving as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ director of player personnel.