Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

An Interview With Team Slovenia Coach and Member of the 1980 US Miracle on Ice Team; John Harrington

Part 1: The 1980 Miracle on Ice

Hi John,

First off, thanks for taking the time to speak with Kuklaskorner.

Following a standout NCAA career as a Right Winger for the University of Minnesota Duluth, you were invited to try out for the 1980 US Olympic Team by legendary coach Herb Brooks. What was training camp like with Brooks?

  The try-out camp was a series of practices and games, with the team being selected at the end of the 12 days.  It was pressure-packed, and no one had any idea where
  they stood in the try-out process.  At the end of the try-out, Brooks invited all 80
  players that had participated in the try-out into a room, told us thanks for coming, and
  then read off the 26 players’ names that he would keep on the team.  

Having made the team, you participated in quite possibly the most famous hockey game ever, the Miracle on Ice, against a dominant Soviet squad, featuring Vladislav Tretiak, Valeri Kharlamov, Boris Mikhailov and Vladimir Petrov along with youngsters Viacheslav Fetisov, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov. What was the general mood in the dressing room before the game?

We had a lot of confidence at that time, not only because of the way we were playing, but also because the USSR had struggled in their games v. Canada and Finland, and they were starting to look mortal to us. It would be wrong to say we were not a little nervous or anxious, but that is to be expected before big games.

After the US scored late in the 1st period to tie the game at 2-2, Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov replaced Tretiak with backup goalie; Vladimir Myshkin. What was the feeling on the Team USA bench at this time?

    We were suprised that he did this. I think Tikhonov was trying to motivate his team by this move, but also trying to show us that he could beat us with his back-up in goal as well. 

You assisted on Mike Eruzione’s game winning goal. Tell us how the goal came about?

    The puck was dumped into the Soviet end of the rink, and I went in to forecheck along with Mark Pavelich.  We turned the puck over in the corner, and Pavelich found Mike Eruzione coming down the slot. He had come on the ice because our other linemate, Buzz Schneider, had changed.

As a coach, what do you think you learned from Herb Brooks?

    I learned that having a plan and sticking to it is important in developing a team and having a successful season. That hard work can sometimes lead to accomplishments that may have looked unreachable. I also learned a lot of things about coaching and managing players that I have used in my 27 years of coaching hockey.

Tomorrow: Part 2: Coaching Team Slovenia

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: boris+mikhailov, buzz+schneider, herb+brooks, john+harrington, mark+pavelich, mike+eruzione, sergei+makarov, valeri+kharlamov, viacheslav+fetisov, viktor+tikhonov, vladimir+krutov, vladimir+myshkin, vladimir+petrov, vladislav+tretiak


edillac's avatar

wow, our coach,hehe

I havent really formed an opinion on him yet, on one hand he thinks team first system game,which may even work out for us,
but on the other hand,he leaves out some young talented scorers,has an absolute fall-out with our no.1 goalie,because of his personal issues( drinking,ego-maniac,...) and uses the ever shaky,stage frightened,the never-clutch Hońćevar who is light years away from being a capable backstopper

Posted by edillac from isolation on 11/09/10 at 09:02 AM ET

SYF's avatar

That is a terrific interview.  Looking forward to the rest.

I particularly hold the 1980 US Olympic hockey team dear to my heart because that team introduced me to the game and since I was living in Detroit at that time, the Red Wings.  The Olympic team taught me to stick together through the tough times and that’s what I did when the Wings suffered a horrendous 16-win season in 1986.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 11/09/10 at 04:24 PM ET

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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