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The Legendary Career of Herb Brooks

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

With the passing of Herb Brooks, takes a look back at the prestigious career of this innovative hockey legend.

Herb Brooks made an indelible mark on the game of hockey, both in the United States and abroad. He will forever be linked to hockey and sporting history for his efforts as head coach of the 1980 United States "Miracle on Ice" squad that captured the gold medal at Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. His momumental achievement in Lake Placid was named "The Greatest Sports Moment of the Century" by Sports Illustrated in 2000.

In addition to his 1980 Olympic accomplishment, Brooks also served as the head coach of France's entry in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan and guided Team USA to a silver medal finish at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also guided the United States entry at the 1979 World Hockey Championships in Moscow.

Brooks began his NHL head coaching career with the Rangers, being named to the post June 4, 1981 and serving in that capacity until January 21, 1985. In 285 matches behind the New York bench, Brooks posted a 131-113-41 mark. His 131 victories ranks fifth in franchise history, while his .532 winning percentage ranks fourth. He is also fifth with 285 games coached. In 24 playoff matches with the Rangers, Brooks registered a 12-12 mark, advancing to the Patrick Division Finals in 1982 and 1983. Following the 1981-82 campaign, he was named The Sporting News Coach of the Year and was runner-up in the balloting for The Hockey News Coach of the Year.

As a player, Brooks was a member of two U.S. Olympic teams, including the 1964 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria and captaining the 1968 team in Grenoble, France. He also appeared on five United States National Teams (1961, 1962, 1965, 1967 and 1970). His extensive service to the American hockey movement is highlighted by being presented with the prestigious Lester Patrick Award in 1980 and 2002, along with his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990 and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame in 1999.

Prior to his historic gold medal victory in 1980, Brooks enjoyed a successful collegiate coaching career at the University of Minnesota, leading the Gophers to three National Championships (1973-74, 1975-76 and 1978-79). The 1973-74 title marked the first National Championship in school history, helping Brooks capture WCHA Coach of the Year honors. In seven seasons at the helm of the Gophers, he posted a career mark of 175-100-20 in 295 career matches.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Brooks starred on the University of Minnesota hockey team as a three-time varsity letter winner.

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