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Michael "Ritz" Eruzione (born October 25, 1954) is an Italian-American former ice hockey player who was the captain of the 1980 Winter Olympics United Statesmarker national team that defeated the Soviet Unionmarker in the famous Miracle on Ice game.

Biography

Playing career

Mike was born in Winthrop, Massachusettsmarker. He learned hockey playing for Youth Hockey of Winthrop as part of the GBYHL Greater Boston Youth Hockey League. He graduated from Winthrop Senior High School in 1972, where he was captain of the varsity hockey team during his senior year. He then spent a year at Berwick Academymarker to fine tune his hockey skills in a New England Prep environment. After attending Berwick, Eruzione starred for Boston Universitymarker, averaging over twenty goals a season for four years. Eruzione also played for Team USA at the 1975 and 1976 Ice Hockey World Championship tournaments. He then moved on to the Toledo Goaldiggers of the International Hockey League, winning the rookie of the year award in 1978 and leading the team to the Turner Cup championship in that year. After his second year in Toledo, Eruzione, who played forward, was named the captain of the 1980 Olympic hockey team, scoring the winning goal against the Soviets and helping the Americans win the gold medal against Finland. Eruzione's winning goal has become one of the most played highlights in American sports, and was voted the greatest highlight of all time by ESPN viewers in March 2008.

Post playing career

Eruzione retired from competition after the Olympics, despite contract offers from the New York Rangers, stating that he'd reached the pinnacle of achievement already. Eruzione then became a television broadcaster, grabbing the microphone at Rangers and New Jersey Devils games and for the NHL on USA Network, and going on to comment at five Olympic Games, working for both ABC and CBS.

Eruzione returned to his alma mater of Boston Universitymarker to be the assistant coach for the hockey team for three seasons, and where he currently works as Director of Special Outreach. He is a member of several halls of fame. Currently, he is a part-owner of the USHL Omaha Lancers franchise, which is located in Omaha, Nebraskamarker, and a motivational speaker. He also helps the Winthrop High School ice hockey team during the winter.

On January 19, 2007, Eruzione appeared on the new version of the game show I've Got a Secret. His secret was that he was the captain of the 1980 U.S. Men's Olympic hockey team. He failed to stump the panel when former major leaguer Billy Bean guessed it.

In popular culture

In the 1981 made-for-TV movie about the 1980 U.S. Hockey team called Miracle on Ice, Eruzione is portrayed by actor Andrew Stevens.

In the 2004 Disney film entitled Miracle, he is portrayed by actor Patrick O'Brien Demsey. Demsey had played hockey at Fitchburg State Collegemarker, but gave it up due to injuries and a desire to pursue an acting career. Patrick O'Brien Demsey's biography at the Internet Movie Database http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1379739 He saw the call for auditions the day before the auditions closed and won the part just days after his 24th birthday. To prepare for the role, he trained with the team Mike Eruzione coached at the time.

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References




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