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Herb Brooks Dies In Auto Accident

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Monday August 11, 2003

(Minneapolis) (AP) -- Former Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks, who led the Americans to the "Miracle on Ice" victory over the Soviet Union, died Monday in a car accident, a state official said.

Brooks, 66, coached the 1980 Olympic team that won the gold medal in Lake Placid, N.Y. He returned to lead the 2002 U.S. Olympic hockey team to a silver medal. The state official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Brooks was killed in a single vehicle rollover at a highway intersection north of the Twin Cities, the official said. Brooks coached the Minnesota North Stars (1997-98), the New Jersey Devils (1992-93) and New York Rangers (1981-85), where he reached the 100-victory mark faster than any other coach in franchise history.

Born in St. Paul, Brooks played hockey at the University of Minnesota, where he later coached from 1972-9, winning three national titles and left with a 167-99-18 to lead the national team. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.

In the infamous U.S.-Soviet Union hockey matchup, Brooks told his players: "You're meant to be here. This moment is yours. You're meant to be here at this time." The U.S. team won 4-3 in a game often referred to as one of the greatest sports moments of the century.

Brooks was the last player cut on the 1960 U.S. gold medal teams, but made it onto the 1964 and 1968 Olympic teams.

Last season, Brooks was the director of player development for Pittsburgh Penguins. He rejected a multimillion dollar offer to coach the New York Rangers last summer, saying didn't want to be away from his wife and family in Minnesota.
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