On Feb. 22,1980, the United States men's Olympic hockey team shocked the international juggernaut Soviet Union and the rest of the world with a 4-3 win in the medal round. Two days later, the stars and stripes took home the gold. It's known forever as the Miracle On Ice — the timeless underdog story of 20 amateur hockey players winning the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
But before they were gold medalists, or even Team USA, they were college student-athletes. Some even donned school colors as recent as months before coach Herb Brooks held Olympic tryouts in the summer of 1979. Here’s where each member of the Miracle on Ice Olympic team played college hockey.
Jim Craig, goaltender (1976-79)
Craig played three seasons at BU, going 55-10-3 as a starter. He was a first-team All-American and two-time Beanpot champion. But those achievements pale in comparison to his junior season, when Craig won all 16 of his starts, leading the Terriers to the program’s third national championship in eight years.
Mike Eruzione, forward (1973-77)
Eruzione (above, right) spent four years with the Terriers before he scored the most famous goal in American Olympic hockey history and became captain of Team USA. He never missed a game, appearing in 127 straight contests, leading BU to four consecutive ECAC titles. Eruzione finished his college career with 208 points.
Jack O’Callahan, defender (1975-79)
O’Callahan played a large role to help Boston University win the 1978 NCAA championship. The junior defender was one of the team’s captains that season and scored 55 points, paced by a team-best 47 assists.
The Terriers were 30-2 and O’Callahan was named most valuable player of the Beanpot, the team and the NCAA tournament, producing a then-record six assists in the postseason.
Dave Silk, forward (1976-79)
Like Craig and O’Callahan, Silk was a key contributor to the Terriers’ championship run in 1978. The sophomore winger finished the year with 27 goals and 58 points. Perhaps no two were bigger and better timed than a two-goal performance against Wisconsin in the Frozen Four.
Silk, of course, is no stranger to multi-point games in big moments. He also assisted on two of the United States’ four goals in the win over the Soviet Union.
Ken Morrow, defender (1975-79)
Morrow made an immediate impact in his college career, starting every game as a freshman. By the time he was a senior, Morrow was a polished two-way defender, winning CCHA Player of the Year after scoring 37 points.
The Falcons reached the Frozen Four in 1978. While a championship eluded Morrow there, he won gold in Lake Placid followed by four straight Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders.
Mark Wells, forward (1975-79)
Wells played his first season of college hockey as a walk-on. He was put on scholarship after that, which makes sense considering he finished no worse than third in scoring for BGSU over his final three seasons.
Wells’ best season came as a senior, when he had 83 points. But his junior year, the Falcons broke through to their first-ever Frozen Four, one of three NCAA tournament appearances during his career.
Bill Baker, defender (1975-79)
Baker was the alternate captain to Eruzione in Lake Placid. Before that, he captained a national championship-winning team at Minnesota. As a senior, he set a then-program record for points by a defender (54). Baker was named a First Team All-American and netted a goal in the opening game of the Olympics.
Neal Broten, forward (1978-79, 1980-81)
Just a freshman in 1979, Broten was a sparkplug for Herb Brooks’ team from the get-go. He finished third on the Gophers in scoring, including an assist and what proved to be the game-winning goal in the national championship.
He was one of the few players to return to school after the Olympics but he didn’t miss a beat in the year between collegiate seasons. Broten won the inaugural Hobey Baker trophy in 1981.
Steve Christoff, forward (1976-79)
After a quiet first season with the Gophers, Christoff developed a nose for the back of the net over the next two. He led Minnesota in scoring both years, topping out with 77 points with a balanced line of 38 goals and 39 assists. Like Broten, Christoff added a goal and an assist in the 1979 NCAA championship game against North Dakota.
Steve Janaszak, goaltender (1975-79)
Janaszak is most likely remembered best for his performance in the 1979 NCAA Tournament. The senior netminder made 25 saves against North Dakota in his final collegiate game, winning a national championship and MVP of the tournament. Janaszak served as the backup to Jim Craig in Lake Placid.
Rob McClanahan, forward (1976-79)
McClanahan improved in each of his three years at Minnesota, topping out at 49 points in 1979, the year the Gophers won the national championship. He was injured in the opening game of the 1980 Olympics but returned to score five goals, including the game-winner against Finland when the United States won the gold medal.
Mike Ramsey, defender (1978-79)
Ramsey only played one season of college hockey but he sure made the most of it. The first-year blueliner won a national championship before earning a spot on the Olympic team. Ramsey was the youngest player selected at just 19 years old.
Buzz Schneider, forward (1972-75)
Schneider, like Eruzione, was a little older than the rest of the Olympic team at 25 years old. He actually played for the United States at the 1976 Olympics too. Before all of that, he was also a national champion. Schneider won the 1974 title with the Gophers.
Eric Strobel, forward (1976-79)
Strobel took a big jump ahead of his final college season, nearly doubling his point total while becoming a 30-goal scorer for Herb Brooks. Strobel played a role in the Gophers’ run to the 1979 NCAA championship before suiting up for Brooks in Lake Placid.
Phil Verchota, forward (1975-79)
A two-time NCAA champion, Verchota’s best season in maroon and gold came as a senior, when he had 42 points for the season to help Minnesota win a second title in four years. His biggest goal of the 1980 Olympics came against Finland to win the gold medal.
John Harrington, forward (1976-79)
Like Wells at Bowling Green, Harrington started out as a walk-on for Minnesota Duluth. At the end of his junior season, he was the Bulldogs’ second-leading scorer and was named the team’s most improved player before trading in the maroon and gold for red, white and blue.
Mark Pavelich, forward (1976-79)
Pavelich strung together 142 points over the course of his college career. He registered more than of those during his junior year, when he scored 79 points — formerly a school a record — and was named a First Team All-American. Pavelich is well known for the primary assist on Eruzione’s game-winning goal against the Soviet Union.
Dave Christian, forward (1977-79)
Christian played two seasons in Grand Forks, helping North Dakota reach the 1979 NCAA championship game after registering 46 points as a sophomore. Christian went on to lead the United States with eight assists at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Mark Johnson, forward (1976-79)
Johnson was named the WCHA Rookie of the Year in 1977 after scoring 80 points and leading Wisconsin to its second NCAA championship in four years. He was a two-time All-American and set the school record with 125 goals in his UW career before leading the U.S. in scoring with 11 points at Lake Placid. Johnson, the head coach for the Badgers' women's hockey team, is the winningest coach in NCAA collegiate women's hockey history.
Bob Suter, defender (1975-79)
Suter played on the 1977 championship team as well. Suter set a UW record for defensemen with seven points in a game. As a senior, he had double-digit goals and was named All-WCHA.