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Auction for Mike Eruzione’s ‘Miracle on Ice’ gear fetches over $1.3M

Feb 23, 2013, 11:41 PM EST

mikeeruzionegetty Getty Images

An auction of memorabilia from Mike Eruzione’s run with the 1980 U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” hockey team generated more than $1.3 million on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

The jersey he wore in that famous win against the Soviet Union was the big ticket item at almost $660K, but other items really drove up the total:

Spirited bidding drove the value of the hockey stick to $262,900, more than five times the $50,000 it was expected to go for as a 9-year-old boy and his father outbid others, earning a high-five slap and a hug for the youth from Eruzione himself.

Gloves he wore throughout the Olympic tournament sold for $53,775, more than 10 times their pre-auction estimates. The blue jersey the team’s captain wore to win the gold against Finland fetched $286,800. Even his warm-up suit sold for $26,290 while his red pants went for $28,680.

The 58-year-old icon insists that he didn’t auction the items off because of money problems. Instead, he intends to leave behind a nice “nest egg” for his family and also expects to benefit the charitable Winthorp Foundation.

There’s at least one item Eruzione wasn’t willing to part with, though.

“As long as I’m alive, the gold medal won’t be sold,” Eruzione said.

  1. esracerx46 - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    If he would have just signed one of the handful of NHL contracts he had offered to him, he could have left his family a decent nest egg. I understand (kind of) why he didnt, but I would have.

    • stakex - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:12 AM

      So true. Its one thing if he simply didn’t like hockey enough to do it for a living… but to turn down an NHL career because you won a gold medal and felt that was the pinnacle of your hockey career? That doesn’t make sense to me. Guys play hockey to achieve great goals yes, but also (and probably mostly) because its a very lucrative career playing a game.

      Also, if he wants to leave a nest egg for his family and doesn’t need the money now he could have just let them sell the items when he dies. They would have been worth a lot more at that point.

      • mianfr - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        I think he was right, and he did peak, and it wasn’t worth it to prolong getting where you’ll end up in life anyway to ride buses under constant scrutiny for too long.

        You have to remember, this wasn’t like the Giants beating the 16-0 Patriots or Appalachian State beating Michigan. It’s called the “Miracle on Ice” because the disparity was so unfathomably huge… It was a bunch of American college-age kids beating seasoned veterans on the best program in the world, and one of the best in history. It wasn’t a bunch of future stars putting it all together earlier than expected.

        I always thought a somewhat reasonable comparison in today’s sports landscape would be if the top squad you can make from NCAA Men’s Soccer were able to knock off FC Barcelona in a competitive match (I think the NCAA is more reflective of where US Hockey was at the time rather than the current USA U-20 team, which really is a pretty strong program at this point).

  2. thehighcountrybear - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    Talk is he needed the extra cash to help pay down part of the veterinarian’s bill when his cat was feeling poorly…?

  3. tlndma - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    He had already spent a couple years riding buses in the minors. My guess is he knew his ceiling as a hockey player. The younger guys on the team were the more talented ones.

  4. dawglb - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Good for him. He reached the top of his sport (in the amateur status). He has made somewhat of a career out of being a public speaker, I feel sure. Selling those items is his right and choice.

  5. ironmike778 - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Who are you guys to judge what he should have done after the Olympics?? When you consider he was very fortunate to even make that team then odds are VERY GOOD he did peak at Lake Placid. He’s made a good life for himself and I believe his reasons are genuine for auctioning this stuff off. Nothing but respect for “Rizzo”.

  6. dprouse - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    This isn’t unusual – Guy Lafleur sold off a bunch of his stuff a few years ago, and others have done the same. I think they reach a stage in their lives (late 50s or so) where they look at all that stuff and ask, “What the heck am I ever going to do with it?” Not coincidentally, it seems to come at an age in people’s lives when many are thinking about downsizing. Might as well turn it into cash so you can help your family and/or enjoy it while you still can.

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