Ice hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics

At the 1980 Winter Olympics hosted in Lake Placid, New York, one Ice Hockey event was held: Men's Ice Hockey, played at the Olympic Center, now known as the Herb Brooks Arena.


These Olympics came at a difficult time for United States-USSR relations, as they were deep in the Cold War. Only months before the games began, the USSR invaded Afghanistan, and there was a possibility that the strong Soviet team might not show up. However, they competed in the Lake Placid games in the end, although the Americans later boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

The Soviets had won every Winter Olympics ice hockey tournament since the 1960 Winter Olympics, were well-seasoned and had been playing together for many years (though they lacked young players). In contrast, the Americans were a collection of college students (some from rival schools such as the University of Minnesota and Boston University) with little history of playing together. However, the US team also featured several highly promising players who would go on to have successful careers in the National Hockey League after the Olympics.

Three days before the Olympics, Coach Herb Brooks scheduled an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Americans lost 10 - 3, and Jack O'Callahan (defense) tore a ligament, though he returned before the medal round. Coach Brooks gave only a few interviews after the game.

Despite these setbacks, Coach Brooks managed to unify his players, train them for a year (the core of the team had been assembled since the 1979 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament in Moscow) and lead them to victory. In the end, the Americans were better prepared both physically and mentally than their opponents and the US team also got stellar goaltending from Jim Craig in the important games.


The USA vs USSR game, called the "Miracle on Ice" in the United States, is the best-remembered game of the tournament and the best-remembered international hockey game in the United States. It was the USA's penultimate game of the tournament's round-robin medal round. The USA's final game, against Finland, was the game which won the gold medal for the United States. Finland finished 4th in the overall standings. One of the better upsets is not remembered and/or known and that is Poland defeating Finland 5-4 in the first game for both teams. Poland was outshot 49-25 and almost lost the game after leading 5-3, giving up a goal at 36:57 to Mikko Leinonen and 46:05 to Reijo Leppänen. But Polish goalie Henryk Wojtynek held on for the win. This may not be remembered because Poland did not advance to the medal round or the 5th place game and it did not prevent Finland from advancing.


*February 12:
**Netherlands 1-10 Canada
**Poland 5-4 Finland
**Japan 0-16 USSR
*February 14:
**Netherlands 4-17 USSR
**Poland 1-5 Canada
**Japan 3-6 Finland
*February 16
**Japan 3-3 Netherlands
**USSR 8-1 Poland
**Canada 3-4 Finland
*February 18
**Canada 6-0 Japan
**Netherlands 5-3 Poland
**Finland 2-4 USSR
*February 20
**Poland 5-1 Japan
**USSR 6-4 Canada
**Finland 10-3 Netherlands

Medal Round

The top two teams from each group play the top two teams from the other group once. Points from previous games against their own group carry over, excluding teams who failed to make the medal round. First place team wins gold, second silver and third bronze.

*February 22
**USA 4-3 USSR (see Miracle on Ice)
**Finland 3-3 Sweden
*February 24:
**Sweden 2-9 USSR
**USA 4-2 Finland

Carried over group matches:
*February 12 Sweden 2-2 USA
*February 18 Finland 2-4 USSR

5th place game
*February 22 Czechoslovakia 6-1 Canada

Leading scorers

Hat Tricks


Ken Berry, Canada vs.Netherlands

Doru Tureanu, Romania vs.West Germany

Aleksandr Golikov, Soviet Union vs.Japan

Vladimir Krutov, Soviet Union vs.Netherlands

Yuri Lebedev, Soviet Union vs.Netherlands

Helmut Balderis, Soviet Union vs.Poland

Mats Aalberg, Sweden vs.Norway

Jack de Heer, Netherlands vs. Poland

Peter Stastny, Czechoslovakia vs.West Germany

Jaroslav Pouzar, Czechoslovakia vs.West Germany

Milan Novy, Czechoslovakia vs.West Germany

Final ranking


External links


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