'Miracle on Ice' players still amazed 40 years later
It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that people are still talking about a "miracle" 40 years after it happened.
The players on the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" hockey team certainly aren't surprised.
"I watched a couple games this week, and it's amazing we pulled it off," said Mike Ramsey, a defenseman on the 1980 team. "It's a pretty special event we were a part of and very proud of it."
On Feb. 22, 1980, the United States shocked the world when it upset the four-time defending gold medalist Soviet Union in the Olympic ice hockey semifinal. Ramsey and several other Minnesotans who were on the team gathered Thursday afternoon at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before flying to Las Vegas for a 40th anniversary celebration weekend.
"Oh, we've got a great bond," teammate Neal Broten said. "One thing about our team: It was really unselfish. No one cared who scored the goals. We still have that bond today. We don't get together that often, but when we do, we have a lot of fun."
Broten and Ramsey were already taking playful jabs and sharing laughs before boarding the plane to Las Vegas.
"Things never change," Buzz Schneider said. "It's just like it was 40 years ago. Just jabbing each other. We've got a great group of guys."
Two things every player will tell you is that they're still amazed by what they accomplished and they never tire of hockey fans asking them about it.
"Just sitting in the locker room or later that night just going, 'I don't believe we beat the Russians,'" says John Harrington. "It was like, 'Maybe we're going to wake up the next morning and this didn't happen.'"
But it did happen, and players like Phil Verchota still revel in it.
"We were fortunate enough to represent the country and beat the Russians, but we had no idea the impact and 40 years later here we are," Verchota told 5 EYE WITNESS NEWS.
Kelly Brooks Paradise will represent her dad, head coach Herb Brooks, at the celebration. Brooks died in a car crash in 2003.
Paradise has posted family pictures from Lake Placid on social media all week.
"It's very emotional to say the least," she said. "Actually made me feel a little bit old. We miss our dad. It was really good going through it remembering what we went through in 1980."