Do you believe in miracles?
One day before the 40th anniversary of the indelible “Miracle on Ice” men’s ice hockey tournament victory that saw a ragtag team of mostly amateur U.S. players beat a professional team of Soviet challengers, that same ragtag team of amateurs turned international superstars appeared with President Donald Trump in Las Vegas.
“President Donald Trump welcomed members of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team at a Las Vegas rally on Friday, who were celebrating the anniversary of their historic win against the Soviet Union,” CNN reported.
“Introducing the team, Trump called the game ‘one of the greatest moments in the history of sports.’ The team took the stage, some of whom wore ‘Keep America Great‘ baseball caps.”
Not just “some.” Almost all of the team members were wearing KAG hats.
.@POTUS recognizing and invited on stage at his Las Vegas rally the 1980 “miracle on ice” hockey team, who are in Vegas this weekend celebrating 40th anniversary.
Late coach Herb Brooks daughter on stage saying, “he would of been a Trump fan.” pic.twitter.com/iFZmFDrm6c
— Steven Marsh (@smarsh91) February 21, 2020
— 1980 Miracle Hockey Team (@1980MiracleTeam) February 21, 2020
Trump opens Las Vegas #KAG rally marking Miracle on Ice U.S. Hockey victory over Soviets 1980 – tmrw 40th anniv — 14 players of that Gold Medal team join on stage… including captain Mike Eruzione .. goaltender Jim Craig (rebuffed 37)… Dave Christian … Herb Brooks daughter pic.twitter.com/SCuoaZuOAb
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) February 21, 2020
The victory 40 years ago was led by head coach Herb Brooks, who was killed in a car accident in 2003 — but who, his daughter testified Friday, would have been an adoring supporter of the president were he still alive.
“I’m honored that his legacy still is alive today. And he would be proud to be here with you all. And, [in] my personal opinion, he would have been a Trump fan,” Kelly Brooks-Paradise said of her father.
Listen (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
The clip above ends with the president jokingly asking whether her father was really a “nice guy, because he looked tough.”
And he was — for good reason too.
“Rob McClanahan played for Herb Brooks for seven years — in college at the University of Minnesota, in the NHL with the New York Rangers and for the United States hockey team that shocked the world and won gold at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. And in all that time there was one constant in their relationship: Fear,” the National Hockey League reported in a profile of Brooks written back in 2014.
The report added, “Part of his method was to keep his distance from the players and to be seen as an adversary.”
Isn’t that kind of how the president deals with people as well?
“I still think to this day he would have loved to hang around us and be part of us. But he wasn’t going to do that,” Mike Eruzione, the captain of the 1980 team, said at the time.
“Until the day he died he stayed away from us. By choice. He didn’t enjoy it but that was how it had to be. I got calls from him once in a while. When he called the house I would panic and think, ‘Uh oh, he’s gonna yell at me.’ I’m married with three kids and he’d call and I’d say, ‘Oh God, what did I do wrong now?'”
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions probably knew that feeling quite well.
The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself…I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined…and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
Eruzione was also present at the rally Friday.
The president introduced him by describing him as “a friend of mine and a very good golfer,” albeit one who uses a “fake handicap” while out on the course.
Laughing as he walked on stage, Eruzione replied, “Welcome everybody. It’s ironic that we happen to be here to celebrate our 40th anniversary. The ‘Vegas Nights’ flew the whole team out to honor us tonight and for the weekend.”
“And we obviously thank the people of Las Vegas for having us here. We’re looking forward to celebrating a special time, and it’s a great honor for the president to invite us to be part of this event as well. So Vegas, thanks for having us!”
The president responded by asking him to confirm once and for all whether he’s a “good athlete” and “good golfer.”
“You are, yes sir, ” Eruzione replied, laughing. “Whatever you say!”
Throughout the rally, a slew of others also joined Trump on stage, including assistant coach Craig Patrick and players Bill Baker, Dave Christian, Ken Morrow, Jack O’Callahan, Mike Ramsey, Mark Wells, Neal Broten, John Harrington, Rob McClanahan, Buzz Schneider, Dave Silk, and Phil Verchota.
During one moment, Ramsey exclaimed, “Four more years!”
“Twelve more years!” Trump replied, after which he directed Ramsey’s attention to the “fake news” cameras at the back of the rally. “Hey Mike, look at the fake news back there. It’s a lot.”
Watch all of it below:
Also, if you’re interested, check out the final moments of the team’s 1980 victory:
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