1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team: Where Are They Now?
The 2018 Winter Olympics marks the 38th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” and if you were born after the Cold War ended, it may be hard to fathom what a big deal it was. For those who were born before or during the 44-year conflict, it still is amazing that a team of mainly college amateurs beat a group of grown men who had been playing full-time for years.
With each passing Olympics, it is worth checking in on these players who made that remarkable gold medal run.
— Compiled by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
Herb Brooks, Head Coach
Brooks won three national titles at Minnesota before leading Team USA to the gold medal in 1980. He had four different stints in the NHL, coaching the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars (Dallas Stars), New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins. He went on to coach two more Olympic teams: Team France in 1998, who finished 11th, and Team USA in 2002, who won the silver medal. Sadly, Brooks died in a car accident in 2003.
(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Bill Baker, Defenseman
Baker is best remembered for scoring the tying goal in Team USA’s 2-2 tie with Sweden. He went on to play for three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Blues, and New York Rangers. Baker now lives in Brainerd, Minnesota, where he worked as an oral surgeon before retiring in 2015.
Neal Broten, Center
Broten still had another year of college eligibility left and returned to the University of Minnesota after winning the gold medal. There, he won the inaugural Hobey Baker Award, which recognizes college hockey’s best player, for the 1980-81 season. Broten went on to play 17 seasons in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 1995. He is the only player to win a Hobey Baker Award, a college national championship, an Olympic gold medal, and a Stanley Cup. He now runs a horse farm with his wife in River Falls, Wisconsin.
Dave Christian, Defenseman
After winning the gold medal, Christian played 15 seasons in the NHL before retiring from professional hockey for good in 1996. He now works for a glass manufacturer in Minnesota.
Steve Christoff, Center
Christoff joined the Minnesota North Stars (now Dallas Stars) for 20 games after winning the gold medal. He also played for the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings before retiring in 1984. Christoff is now an airline pilot for Minneapolis-based Endeavor Air, a Delta regional subsidiary.
Jim Craig, Goalie
Craig became a household name when he stopped 36 of 39 shots in Team USA’s upset of the Soviet Union. He played sparingly for three NHL teams before retiring in 1984 and is now president of Gold Medal Strategies, a Boston-based marketing and promotions firm that also manages his public speaking appearances.
Mike Eruzione, Left Wing
The captain of Team USA scored the winning goal against the Soviet Union, but was not drafted by an NHL team and bypassed any sort of professional career on the ice. Since then, he has been one of the most public members of the team, serving as a broadcaster for ABC, CBS, FOX and USA, appearing on the animated show American Dad!, and speaking at the 2012 Republican National Convention. In addition to being a motivational speaker, Eurozione serves as Director of Special Outreach for Boston University and is co-owner of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers.
(Photo courtesy of premierespeakers.com)
John Harrington, Right Wing
Harrington provided the assist to Mike Eurozione on the game-winning score to beat the Soviet Union. Afterwards, he played professionally in the U.S. minor leagues and in Switzerland. Harrington then went on to play for the 1984 U.S. Hockey team (Team USA finished seventh). Harrington is currently in his third season as head coach of the Minnesota State University women's hockey team. Prior to that he was an amateur scout for the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, and also has had head coaching stints with the men's hockey team at Saint John’s University in Minnesota, for two different teams overseas and the Slovenia men’s national hockey team.
(Photo courtesy of Minnesota State University Mavericks' Website, msumavericks.com)
Steven Janaszak, Goalie
Jim Craig’s backup is the only member of the team to not appear in any Olympic games. He then played one season with the NHL’s Minnesota North Stars (now Dallas Stars) in 1980 and the Colorado Rockies (now New Jersey Devils) in 1982. Janaszak now works in investment banking in New York.
Mark Johnson, Center
Johnson scored two of Team USA’s four goals against the Soviets, including one in the final seconds of the first period that sent goalie Vladislav Tretiak — considered to be the best in the world at the time — to the bench. He went on to play for five different NHL teams before retiring in 1990. He now serves as the women’s ice hockey coach for the University of Wisconsin, his alma mater, and has won four national titles since assuming that role in 2002. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, he coached the U.S. women’s hockey team and won a silver medal.
Rob McClanahan, Left Wing
McClanahan played through a bruised thigh in the opening game against Sweden, inspiring the team to come back for the tie. He then went on to play five seasons in the NHL before retiring in 1984. He now works in investment banking in Minnesota.
(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Ken Morrow, Defenseman
Morrow joined the New York Islanders almost immediately after the gold medal win and won the first of four straight Stanley Cups with the team a few months later. He played 10 seasons with the team and has served as its Director of Pro Scouting since 1993.
(Photo courtesy of New York Islanders' Website)
Jack O’Callahan, Defenseman
O’Callahan had to miss the first game against Sweden because of a knee injury but was back in time for the “Miracle on Ice.” He went on to play five seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and two with the New Jersey Devils. O’Callahan now lives in Chicago and works in finance.
(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Mark Pavelich, Center
Pavelich went on to play under coach Herb Brooks with the New York Rangers and set the team rookie record for most points with 1976. He officially retired from professional hockey in 1991 and became a land developer in Minnesota. He auctioned his gold medal in 2014 for $262,900 to set up his daughter’s financial security.
Mike Ramsey, Defenseman
The youngest member of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team went on to have one of the most successful NHL careers of his fellow Olympians, playing 18 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings. He served as an assistant coach with the Sabres and Minnesota Wild and is currently retired in the Minneapolis area. Two of his three children have played college hockey.
Buzz Schneider, Center
After winning a national championship at Minnesota in 1974, Schneider played on the '76 Olympic team that finished fifth. He then played minor league hockey before joining Team USA in 1980. During the Olympics, he scored five goals and had three assists. He now works as a real estate broker in Minnesota.
Dave Silk, Right Wing
After winning the gold medal, Silk played seven seasons with the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets. He then played in Europe until 1991 and then returned to his alma mater, Boston University, to serve as an assistant coach. He is now an investment banker in Boston.
Eric Strobel, Right Wing
Strobel briefly played minor league hockey before an ankle injury ended his career in 1980. He later became a telephone sales executive in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
Bob Suter, Defenseman
Suter followed his gold medal with a few years of minor league hockey before retiring for good in 1982. He returned to Wisconsin, opened a sporting goods store, and became part owner and director of the Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton. His oldest son, Ryan, is a three-time All-Star defenseman who plays for the NHL's Minnesota Wild. Bob Suter died of a heart attack in 2014 and the arena was renamed in his honor. He is the only player from the team who has passed away as of 2018.
(Photo courtesy of www.usahockey.com)
Phil Verchota, Left Wing
Verchota played hockey in Finland after winning the gold medal in 1980. He returned to play for the U.S. national hockey team in 1982 and was captain of the '84 Olympic team that finished seventh. Verchota is now with Deerwood Bank, serving as president of its Bemidji, Minnesota, branch.
Mark Wells, Center
Wells played minor league hockey before retiring in 1982, and was later diagnosed with a rare degenerative spinal disease. The medical bills forced him to sell his gold medal for $40,000 in 2010. His hometown of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, renamed its Civic Arena’s Olympia Room in his honor in 2014.