Miracle’s Mike Eruzione to auction off Olympic gear

Published On January 26, 2013 | By Jill Saftel

The “Miracle on Ice” is my favorite sports story of all time. I read books about it, wishing I had been around for the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. And I watch the movie whenever I can. Seriously, you’re sad? Watch Miracle. Something good happened? Watch Miracle. It’s a movie for every occasion.

So, you’ll understand my initial disappointment to hear 1980 Olympic hockey hero Mike Eruzione, who scored the goal that got the Americans the win, is selling his jersey and stick from that monumental game against the Soviets.

According to a report from ESPN, 58-year-old Eruzione will be parting with his No. 21 jersey, stick, and other hockey paraphernalia via auction. Heritage Auctions will be selling the items in New York on Feb. 23, which just happens to be a day after the 33rd anniversary of the historic game.

So what exactly does an iconic jersey in both sports history and American history go for? The jersey alone is anticipated to go for over $1 million, but according to ESPN some sports memorabilia experts are claiming it could go much higher. For a frame of reference, the current auction record price for a piece of hockey memorabilia is $1.2 million, set back in 2010 for Paul Henderson‘s jersey worn during the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviets.

And while I might wish Eruzione would keep his old gear, he has the best of intentions.

The Winthop, Mass. native said he doesn’t personally need the money and is selling the prized items to help out his three adult children and grandson.

“I thought this would be a great little nest egg for them for their future with their kids,” he said in a telephone interview. And where has the gear been since the miracle game? It’s been sitting in Eruzione’s hockey bag in the attic of his Winthrop home.

Eruzione said the proceeds from the auction will also go toward his Winthrop Foundation, based in his hometown.

But there is one thing Eruzione won’t be selling as long as he’s alive, and that’s his gold medal.

“The medal is what it’s all about,” Eruzione said. “That’s what we played for.”

And he’s right, isn’t he? At the end of the day, the Miracle on Ice wasn’t about a jersey or a stick. And even for someone who wasn’t lucky enough to live through it, that 1980 team represents an American resiliency and determination that has nothing to do with any tangible objects.

Good on you, Mike.

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About The Author

Jill studies journalism at Northeastern University, covers Hockey East for College Hockey News and is the sports editor for The Huntington News. You can follow her on Twitter at @jillsaftel, just don't ask her to choose between hockey and baseball, it's impossible.