“Do you believe in miracles……Yes!”
If you’re an American hockey fan, which you most likely are if you live in Glens Falls, then you’ve heard that call more times than you can remember and you know all about the Miracle on Ice.
The greatest moment in United States hockey, perhaps sports, history. When a group of 20 college players defeated the best hockey team on the planet, the mighty Soviet Union. In a time when Cold War tensions were high, the Miracle On Ice gave Americans a win when they needed it most.
Saturday Night at the Glens Falls Civic Center gave the city of Glens Falls a chance to “Relive The Miracle” as Dave Silk and Dave Christian from the 1980 team were at the Civic Center.
“At first, no,” Christian said when asked if the team truly grasped the impact of what the team did at Lake Placid. “In the years following Lake Placid it really started to sink home. People relaying stories about where they were when we beat the Soviets and retelling who they were watching the game with, it really started to sink in that there were millions of people paying attention.”
Flash back 35 years, to December of 1979. The US Olympic Team, which put together an impressive 48-16-4 record on their run to the Gold, was in Glens Falls to take on the Adirondack Red Wings. One of the few blemishes on the team’s record came that night as the Red Wings defeated Team USA 1-0, coming on a Mal Davis goal in the final minute of the game.
“That Adirondack team was just about the best minor league team we played all year,” Silk said. “It was a full house for sure and I remember it was loud. The crowd gave us a big ovation at the start but as the game went on they cheered more and more for the Adirondack team.”
Saturday night was certain to bring back memories of that crowd, as 5,300 fans packed the Glens Falls Civic Center, more than 500 over the listed capacity of the building. The fans erupted throughout the night, including on Bill Arnold’s game opening goal early in the second period. But it was when the two Miracle Men, Silk and Christian, were announced for the puck drop that really got the crowd on its feet.
The ovations didn’t begin at puck drop, however. Silk and Christian gathered with a group of Adirondack Youth Hockey players for some words of encouragement and autographs during a mid day practice. The players’ arrival drew loud stick taps from the players as they gathered around the two Olympic heroes.
Fans were also treated to a question-and-answer session with the players in the Davidson Brothers’ Flames Pub before puck drop. The two Olympians told stories of their time in Lake Placid, playing under Herb Brooks and the honor of winning a gold medal.
The players concluded their time in Glens Falls with an autograph session in the first intermission, which saw items ranging from copies of the movie Miracle, to actual tickets from the Gold Medal game against Finland and everything in between.
The on-ice result was not what the Flames had hoped it would be, but it turned out to be a minor detail in a night with so many special memories. 35 years later, the Miracle remains alive and well in Upstate New York.