Four years before "The Miracle" in Lake Placid, Lou Vairo was leading his midget junior team in the United States Hockey League to a national championship while introducing European concepts of training and playing rarely seen in this country.
His teachings stressed puck control and pursuit, passing and speed through the neutral zone. It was a style of play Vairo embraced after a visit with Soviet Union coach Anatoli Tarasov at a clinic in Moscow in 1972. From that moment, Vairo was hooked and determined to pass along this knowledge to anyone willing to listen.
"Tarasov's hockey was different than anyone else's and it just fascinated me," Vairo said. "I brought the best features of North American hockey, which was basically Canadian, and European, basically Soviet, and tried to mend them together to fit the culture of our people."