Former Team Canada players reflect on 40th anniversary of Olympics’ ‘Miracle on Ice’

Alberta athletes mark 40th anniversary of Miracle On Ice
WATCH ABOVE: The U.S. defeated the Soviets in a game at the Winter Olympics on Feb. 22, 1980, a victory that became known as the Miracle on Ice. Kevin Karius has more on the 40th anniversary of the upset.

Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of what’s been dubbed in the hockey world as the “Miracle on Ice.”

The phrase refers to when the United States’ national hockey team upset the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Sports Illustrated has ranked the game as being the greatest moment ever in sports history.

READ MORE: ‘Miracle On Ice’ hockey great Eruzione selling jersey, other items at auction

Team Canada had strong representation from the University of Alberta at the Games, with five players from the Golden Bears on the team and Clare Drake on the coaching staff.

Canada came very close to changing history at that Olympics. Had the Canucks beaten Finland in round robin play instead of losing 4-3, Canada would have advanced to the final round and eventually played the U.S.

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“We realized the game against Finland was a key one, and then there were certain circumstances — we have to beat the Russian team,” said Randy Gregg, who was captain of the Canadian squad.

Canada almost defeated the Soviet Union. Canada led 3-1 late in the second period, only to see the Soviets come back to win 6-4.

“I think it probably set the stage for the U.S. win,” said Canada forward John Devaney.

“They were probably watching that game, saying, ‘Hey, they are not invincible.’ We were that close.”

The U.S. defeated the Soviets in a game on Feb. 22, 1980. Two days later, the Americans beat Finland to win Olympic gold.