Canada

Former Team Canada players reflect on 40th anniversary of Olympics’ ‘Miracle on Ice’

Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of what’s been dubbed in the hockey world as the “Miracle on Ice.”

The phrase refers to when the United States’ national hockey team upset the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Sports Illustrated has ranked the game as being the greatest moment ever in sports history.

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Team Canada had strong representation from the University of Alberta at the Games, with five players from the Golden Bears on the team and Clare Drake on the coaching staff.

Canada came very close to changing history at that Olympics. Had the Canucks beaten Finland in round robin play instead of losing 4-3, Canada would have advanced to the final round and eventually played the U.S.

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“We realized the game against Finland was a key one, and then there were certain circumstances — we have to beat the Russian team,” said Randy Gregg, who was captain of the Canadian squad.

Canada almost defeated the Soviet Union. Canada led 3-1 late in the second period, only to see the Soviets come back to win 6-4.

“I think it probably set the stage for the U.S. win,” said Canada forward John Devaney.

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“They were probably watching that game, saying, ‘Hey, they are not invincible.’ We were that close.”

The U.S. defeated the Soviets in a game on Feb. 22, 1980. Two days later, the Americans beat Finland to win Olympic gold.