It may be hard to believe it’s been 40 years but it’s one of those events where you remember where you were when you found out about it. The 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team’s upset of the Soviet Union was that kind of moment, even if there was no live TV broadcast in the U.S.
I was getting ready to play a high school basketball game (or sit on the bench at least) when word began to spread through the gym.
MeiGray’s Barry Meisel was a sportswriter covering a minor league hockey game not that far from Lake Placid when someone passed him in a stairway and said the words he didn’t believe. “We beat the Soviets.”
Forty years later, Meisel’s company has loaned two game-worn Team USA jerseys to a new exhibit celebrating that magical, improbable gold medal weekend that’s now open in St. Paul, MN.
The Greatest Day Exhibit just opened inside the City of Baseball Museum at CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints.
There’s no charge to get a look at the artifacts on display including those two game jerseys loaned by MeiGray: Ken Morrow’s jersey from the win over the USSR and the one donned by Dave Christian during the gold medal game.
Dave Brooks, Herb’s brother, has loaned a few items: the skates Herb wore during practice in 1980, a chair signed by the entire team from the Lake Placid Arena, Herb’s whistle from 1980 and other items. There’s also an electronic, interactive display that chronicle’s the team’s run to what many believe still stands as the greatest moment in American sports history.
There are other hockey artifacts on display, too. Minneapolis collector Taylor Simons loaned a 1925-26 St. Paul Saints (hockey) AC wool jersey, a 1930’s St. Paul Saints jersey worn by U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Oscar Almquist, and photos and signage of early 20th century St. Paul hockey games. Also, on loan from the MeiGray group is a 1977 game-worn Minnesota Fighting Saints jersey from the defunct World Hockey Association.
The Olympic team’s win may have happened in New York but the team had deep roots in “the state of hockey.” Twelve of the players and coach Herb Brooks were Minnesota natives.
The exhibit will run through Feb. 22, the date of the semifinal victory that preceded the gold-medal game victory over Finland two days later.
The Vegas Golden Knights will host a 40th anniversary player reunion next month. KSTP-TV in Minneapolis visited the exhibit and talked with Buzz Schneider, a key member of that squad during its visit to the exhibit.