Skip to Main Content
This Date in NHL History

Aug. 5: 'Miracle on Ice' coach Brooks born in Minnesota

Plus: Hall of Famer, NHL innovator Ross dies at 79

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1937: Herb Brooks, the coach of the "Miracle on Ice" United States team that wins gold at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, is born in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Brooks plays college hockey at the University of Minnesota, returns as coach in 1972 and guides the Golden Gophers to three NCAA championships. That leads to him being named to coach the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team; 20 years earlier, he's the last player cut from the 1960 team that wins gold at Lake Tahoe.

Though the U.S. is comprised entirely of nonprofessionals, it goes 4-0 with one tie in the first round, then shocks the Soviet Union in its first final-round game, rallying for a 4-3 victory. Two days later, a come-from-behind 4-2 win against Finland gives the U.S. the gold medal.

Brooks takes over as coach of the New York Rangers in 1981; he also coaches the Minnesota North Stars, New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins, finishing with an NHL record of 219-219 and 66 ties. He coaches France's Olympic team in 1998, then returns as United States coach for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, when the U.S. loses to Canada in the gold-medal game.

Brooks dies in an auto accident on Aug. 11, 2003. He is posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.



1964: Art Ross, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and a major factor in the NHL's success in the United States, dies in Medford, Massachusetts, at age 79.

Ross is regarded as one of hockey's best defensemen during his playing career with the Montreal Wanderers. However, he's best known for his 30 seasons as a coach and executive with the Boston Bruins.

In 1924, Ross is named the first coach and general manager of the Bruins; he coaches them for 17 seasons and serves as GM until his retirement in 1954. During that time, Ross also introduces several improvements to the game, including a new style of net and a redesigned puck. In 1947, he donates the Art Ross Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL's leading regular-season scorer.

View More