You know an event was special when even the creative by-products of those moments provide an incredible experience. From Disney’s feature film “Miracle” to HBO’s fantastic documentary “Do you believe in Miracles?” all the way down to the sorely under-appreciated book “The Boys of Winter,” I just cannot get enough retrospectives on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team’s gold medal run.
Yet when you talk about hockey pilgrimages, visiting Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY rarely registers unless you’re in close proximity to the area. One way to draw hockey fans (and people interested in the history of American sports in general) is to make sure that the arena stands as a well-represented monument to a moment many consider the greatest moment in U.S. sports history.
Unfortunately, the efforts to maintain Herb Brooks Arena have fallen under hard times thanks in large part to the country’s stagnant economy. Here is more from Bill Meltzer of NHL.com.
The arena in Lake Placid that now bears the name of the late coach of the American team is in need of repair and upkeep. A non-profit project is under way to transform Herb Brooks Arena into a living monument to the Miracle on Ice, both for current and future generations.
Under the auspices of the Village of Lake Placid and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and the curatorial direction of Liz DeFazio, the process of planning a facility makeover has begun. The first tangible steps likely are to involve the preservation of Dressing Room No. 5, the room where Team USA got ready for its historic come-from-behind victory over the mighty Soviet team on Feb. 22, 1980. The current museum plan includes a proposal to create a profile for each Team USA player located in the individual stall where he dressed. This will include a photo of each player, his bio and possibly his Olympic stats.
Unfortunately, there are limited government funds available to undertake the project. Funding has been cut each and every year, and the current fiscal year has been particularly steep, with the economy still in a precarious state. As a result, the financial groundwork for the project will have to come through private funding.
Here are a few other things I’ve love to see as they attempt to turn Herb Brooks Arena into something of a museum:
- A replica of Brooks’ hilarious plaid suit from the Olympic Games (that for some reason is now very difficult to find via Google).
- The whistle used by Brooks during the “Again!” session of Herbies. (This clip includes that dramatized sequence and the plaid suit. Huzzah!)
- A signed copy of a photo of the late first period goal allowed by Russian goalie Vladimir Tretiak, who has become a good sport about the moment over the years. Probably because he’s only, what, 1/3 culpable?
- A viewing room with the game in full. I still haven’t seen the actual, full game and I think that’s a crime.
- The gold medal that Mark Wells unfortunately needed to sell.
Anyway, just consider those ideas a few gentle suggestions. The article didn’t include any information about how to donate to the cause to preserve Herb Brooks Arena, but we’ll pass along any notes and updates on the upkeep for the site of “The Miracle on Ice.”