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The Best Sports Jersey Ever

Updated on November 24, 2016

Minnesota North Stars and Team USA Ice Hockey Jerseys

1967 - 1993
1967 - 1993 | Source
replica of USA Ice Hockey team jersey worn in the 1980 Olympic games
replica of USA Ice Hockey team jersey worn in the 1980 Olympic games | Source

Background

It was February 9th 1966 when the Twin Cities of Minnesota were granted a franchise for a National Hockey League expansion team. There was even a public contest to pick the name of the team - North Stars was the winning entry selected. It was not until the 1967 season that the team was ready for play, at the Met Center in Bloomington, as a new NHL team.

While the North Stars played well over 2,000 games from 1967 - 1993, they never won a Stanley Cup (trophy awarded to the winner of the professional ice hockey playoffs that were created as a tribute to Lord Stanley).

The North Stars eventually moved to Texas and became the Dallas Stars. The most notable player that became the face of the North Stars and the Stars team was number nine - Mike Modano. Modano was drafted by Minnesota in 1988 and moved with the team when they shifted to Dallas. The picture you see above is a replica of the same one that Modano wore in the early years of his playing career - even name and number 9 are the same. While Modano went on to play 20 seasons both with Minnesota and Dallas and now is in the NHL Hall of Fame, his jersey is a runner up to the best damn sports jersey ever. This grand champion honor belongs to my team USA replica jersey that was worn by the USA Men's Ice Hockey team who won the gold medal in the Winter Olympics in 1980. In this article, I will discuss why this jersey is the best ever.

1980 United States Men's National Ice Hockey Team

The Herb Brooks ice arena, located in Lake Placid, New York used to be known as the Olympic Arena back in 1980 but that was before the coach of the USA Men's Ice Hockey team took a bunch of no name college men and made them an icon in American sports history. The USA team won the gold medal defeating two powerhouse teams (Russia in a round two game known to Americans as "The Miracle on Ice" in the semi finals then Finland in the gold medal game and final round).

The USA Men's Ice Hockey team path to the gold medal was not easy. They had tied a very tough Sweden team in the first round and continued the round play by beating Czechoslovakia (now split into two countries), Norway and Romania - losing only to West Germany.

Final Results For Men's Ice Hockey - 1980

medals
team
country
Gold
USA
United States
Silver
Soviet Union
Russia
Bronze
Sweden
Sweden

1980 United States Men's National Ice Hockey Skill

Since this era, of sports, did not have the cable television, fiber optic Internet or smart phones it was only the live broadcasting, the newspaper or television news in which Olympic updates were obtained. Nonetheless, every time I knew of a scheduled team USA ice hockey game, I would do my best to capture a glimpse of the game or results from which ever sports media were available to me.

When the games ended, the only USA team member to land in the top 10 in ice hockey scoring, during the 1980 Olympic hockey games, was Mark Johnson with five goals, six assists and eleven points. This was no problem for team USA because their goal tender lead all other goalies, in the games, with a 91.47 save percentage.

In ice hockey, many teams are formed by individual and specific skills - knowledge of the game, position, puck handling and speed. In terms of these skills, team USA was not a gold medal team. I am not even certain their skills would put them as a medal contender. Yet, this team, coached by Herb Brooks defeated the top amateur teams in the nation to win a gold medal.

So how does a team with average hockey players, that did not dominate the international play, win a gold medal in the Olympic games?

YouTube - 1980 USA Ice Hockey

Team USA - 1980 Ice Hockey Jersey

Replica of 1980 USA Men's Ice Hockey Jersey
Replica of 1980 USA Men's Ice Hockey Jersey | Source
Mike Eruzione USA Team Captain
Mike Eruzione USA Team Captain | Source

1980 United States Men's National Ice Hockey Players

As I stated earlier, the 1980 USA ice hockey team was built on average skill but Herb Brooks realized something that no other coach understood in 1980 and even today. Herb new that if he could build a team of average players and get them to play together, team USA had a chance to compete. The basic philosophy instilled into the players was will beats skill.

With that in mind, Brooks selected a team based on how he thought they could compliment one another on the ice. They practiced longer and trained harder than any other team in the games. At the core of this team was a guy named Mike Eurizone - the captain of the 1980 USA ice hockey team.

Eurizone had played ice hockey his entire life and even landed captain of several teams so it was no surprise when we was selected captain for the Olympic games. It was not his leadership on ice or his championships that got me to follow him during the games. When I watched Eurizone play, I saw a good hockey player with a knack for great instinctive play. At 5' 10" Mike was no giant of the game and yet his attitude, instinct, knowledge of the game, passion, perseverance, skill and work ethic is what put him in a position to score the winning goal in the game against the Soviet Union ice hockey team.

The Best Sports Jersey Ever

When I received, as a gift, a replica of the Mike Eurizone 1980 USA ice hockey jersey (number 21), I was absolutely thrilled. It was not the gold medal the team won and certainly not the letters for the country that the team represents that excited me. It is not even the compliments that I get whenever I wear this Jersey. What excites me the most about this jersey is the meaning of what the player stood for while he played. The characteristics that helped in transition from a recognized sports player to a man with a career as a broadcaster.

I see the same characteristics in my son (the player) as I saw in Mike (the player) and this jersey reminds me that all people have a shot at their dreams as long as they ignore the people who tell them that their dreams are not achievable and they continue the pursuit of their passion.

Mike the player, that could have played on any NHL team and who landed himself a great broadcasting career, is now a constant memorabilia reminder to me that if you want to see how wealthy you are - then count the things you have that do not cost anything - like the characteristics that make the player and the man. That is what I think of when I wear this Jersey and watch my son play ice hockey and that is why the 1980 team USA, Eurizone (number 21) is the best sports Jersey ever.

Sports Jerseys

© 2015 mts1098

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