-- The 15 members of the Chicago Blackhawks
and Phoenix Coyotes
who will take part in the 2014 Sochi Olympics were given a rousing sendoff at Jobing.com Arena on Friday, with 10 members of the 1980 United States "Miracle on Ice" team leading the way.
Beginning with Kurt Russell's recreation of coach Herb Brooks' famous USA-Soviet Union pregame speech from the movie "Miracle" and continuing with Aerosmith's iconic "Dream On," 10 members of the gold medal winning team were introduced to a sellout crowd that recreated the "U-S-A!, U-S-A!" chant that echoed through the mountains of Lake Placid 34 years ago.
The 10 team members, Beginning with sniper Neal Broten and ending with captain Mike Eruzione, donned their red, white and blue jerseys again and lined up at center ice before the five Phoenix and 10 Chicago Olympians were introduced to the crowd. Broten and Eruzione were joined by Steve Janaszak, Rob McClanahan, Ken Morrow, Buzz Schneider, Dave Silk, Bob Suter, Phil Verchota and Mark Wells.
"It's great for the 10 of us, with the opening ceremonies taking place today, and we're really honored that the Coyotes had us here for a couple of days and be part of this event," said Broten, who also won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils. "The 1980 experience is by far the greatest pleasure I had playing hockey."
Schneider, who scored the first goal in the 4-3 win against the Soviet Union and had a hat trick against legendary Russian Vladislav Tretiak five years earlier, said the miracle of 1980 will never be repeated.
"You used to have to play in the Olympics to get to the National Hockey League," Schneider said. "Now you have to play in the NHL to get to the Olympics."
Duncan Keith (Canada), Niklas Hjalmarsson (Sweden), Patrick Sharp (Canada), Marcus Kruger (Sweden), Jonathan Toews (Canada) , Michal Handzus (Slovakia), Johnny Oduya (Sweden) , Michal Rozsival (Czech Republic), and Marian Hossa (Slovakia) were honored for Chicago, as was Patrick Kane (United States) who was attending his grandfather's funeral and was not with the team.
Mike Smith (Canada), Lauri Korpikoski (Finland), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Sweden), Zbynek Michalek (Czech Republic) and Martin Hanzal (Czech Republic) will represent the Coyotes in Sochi.