1980 Olympics Hockey

1980 Olympics Hockey Added to Lineup


One More Upset for U.S. “Miracle” Team


By Glenn Guzzo


            In an upset that should only bring cheers, Strat-O-Matic will produce a bonus computer hockey player set this summer – a 12-team, 240-player re-creation of the 1980 Olympics that gave birth to the United States’ “Miracle on Ice” team.


            This was the team that defeated the otherwise-invincible Soviet Union team in Lake Placid, NY, at the height of US-USSR political tensions. It made legends of coach Herb Brooks, captain Mike Eruzione and goalie Jim Craig. It made great theater for last year’s movie, Miracle.


            When Strat-O-Matic announced recently that it would try to salve hockey fans’ wounds with a Hall of Fame set and three historic NHL seasons (1946-47, 1968-69 and 1975-76), the game company said it had hoped to produce the Olympics set as well, but that it did not obtain the necessary data in time. That changed at the 11th hour, in another upset befitting the U.S. team.


There will be no card set this late in the game. However, there will be card images viewable with the computer game’s card-image option. And, SOM’s Steve Barkan said, those who purchase the Version 5 computer upgrade will receive the Olympics ratings (and the Hall of Fame set) automatically and will also receive the card images on the CD-ROM so that gamers can print the card images themselves.


The under-dog U.S. team went undefeated in the Olympics tourney, winning six straight after an opening-game tie against favored Sweden. The miracle win over the Soviet Union came in the semi-finals of the medal round, which the American team followed with the Gold Medal-clinching victory over Finland.


            In addition to those four medal-round teams, the set will contain all the other 1980 Olympics teams: Canada, Czechoslovakia, West Germany, Holland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Romania.


            Before the Olympics, the all-amateur American team comprised mostly of college players was considered to be no better than fifth best, certainly behind the Soviets, the Czechs, the Canadians and the Swedes.


            Soon after the Olympics was over, 13 of the 20 American players were headed for the National Hockey League. Several – notably center Neal Broten and defensemen Ken Morrow and Mike Ramsey – became instant and long-time stars. Forwards Mark Pavelich, Mark Johnson and Dave Christian also were prominent pros.


            Other future NHL players from that team included Craig and fellow goalie Steve Janaszak, defenseman Bill Baker and Jack O’Callahan and forwards Steve Christoff, Rob McClanahan and Dave Silk. Brooks coached three NHL teams. And his assistant, Craig Patrick, became the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.


            Gamers will find numerous former NHL players on the rosters of other countries, too, including such notables as the Soviets’ Sergei Makarov and Viacheslav Fetisov; Czech forwards Peter, Anton and Marian Stastny, and Swedish goalie Pelle Lindbergh. Then there is Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak, who did not play in the NHL but is in hockey’s Hall of Fame.


Barkan credits gamer Dennis Pittman with the research for the Olympic set.


            Ratings will be based on Olympics games only (with minor adjustments), Barkan said, which means a mere seven games for medal-round teams, and just five for the other teams. So expect extreme ratings reflecting the hot and cold players of the tournament.