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AFTER-DINNER SPEAKERS AND DESIGNATED MOP-UPS
E.M. Swift
December 22, 1980
How can I lose my perspective when my mother still insists on waiting up for me?" asks Mike Eruzione, whose winning goal against the Russians made him famous overnight. If the U.S. team hadn't won the gold medal, Eruzione probably would have taken a job with his alma mater, Boston University, as assistant hockey coach. Instead he is jetting to Los Angeles, Colorado Springs and New York, dividing his time between being technical adviser in the making of the Miracle On Ice film and serving as a color commentator for the USA cable television network. His face is on the cover of the telephone book in his hometown of Winthrop, Mass.; he's had two proposals of marriage ("I didn't have any last year,"); and he threw out the first ball on opening day for both the Red Sox and Yankees—surely a first. On the banquet circuit he's made dozens of appearances around the U.S. He opens each one with a 20-minute highlight film, which includes the winning goal and the sequence of Eruzione singing the national anthem as Old Glory was raised during the medal ceremony. The film closes with about 8,000 violins playing The Impossible Dream. By the time he actually has to say something, there isn't a dry eye in the house. "I stand there and tell them all to go home, and they do it. They just want to share in the moment."
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December 22, 1980

After-dinner Speakers And Designated Mop-ups

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How can I lose my perspective when my mother still insists on waiting up for me?" asks Mike Eruzione, whose winning goal against the Russians made him famous overnight. If the U.S. team hadn't won the gold medal, Eruzione probably would have taken a job with his alma mater, Boston University, as assistant hockey coach. Instead he is jetting to Los Angeles, Colorado Springs and New York, dividing his time between being technical adviser in the making of the Miracle On Ice film and serving as a color commentator for the USA cable television network. His face is on the cover of the telephone book in his hometown of Winthrop, Mass.; he's had two proposals of marriage ("I didn't have any last year,"); and he threw out the first ball on opening day for both the Red Sox and Yankees—surely a first. On the banquet circuit he's made dozens of appearances around the U.S. He opens each one with a 20-minute highlight film, which includes the winning goal and the sequence of Eruzione singing the national anthem as Old Glory was raised during the medal ceremony. The film closes with about 8,000 violins playing The Impossible Dream. By the time he actually has to say something, there isn't a dry eye in the house. "I stand there and tell them all to go home, and they do it. They just want to share in the moment."

Herb Brooks, too, hit the banquet circuit, at one point making 60 appearances in 90 days (for up to $5,000 per). Now he's coaching in Davos, Switzerland, but making plans to join the New York Rangers as coach in March. Hockey in Switzerland isn't what Brooks had expected. The Davos players hold regular 9-to-5 jobs, and they wouldn't stand for the conditioning program Brooks had planned. Further, they didn't like his weaving, puck-control system. They told him they weren't trying to beat the Russians, and could they please go back to the old way? Brooks agreed. "I'm tired of browbeating guys," he says. "If they don't want to play, there's nothing I'm going to do about it. But I don't ever want to forget Lake Placid, even if you can't just hang your hat on it. The barstools are full of guys living in the past."

Jim Craig now plays for the Boston Bruins. He resides a few minutes away from the house in which he grew up. He, too, has made a lot of personal appearances, and he got $35,000 for doing one commercial for Coca-Cola.

Craig is disillusioned—with the attitude of his teammates, the NHL game, fame, even affluence. "I've always wanted to make money, but since I've had it, I haven't felt any better," he says. "You can't meet anybody without being suspicious. Do they want to meet me, or Jim Craig the goalie, the Olympic hero? I've isolated myself. I'm going into a shell, and I'd like to break out of it." He can't go back to his old Boston University stomping ground, The Dugout. He doesn't feel comfortable going anywhere, so he stays in his apartment, alone. His Bruin teammates, a veteran lot, haven't accepted him with open arms, and his status was hardly improved when he took it upon himself to diagram the Olympic team's power play for the Bruins.

"What am I?" he asks. "I'm not an Olympic goalie anymore. I'm not an NHL goalie yet. I'm a rookie. But I'm not treated like a rookie. What I'm trying to do is find myself. When I do that, then I'll be happy. It's like I've gone from a baby to adulthood. Where the hell's my childhood? I wish I could wake up one morning and not have the pressure squeezing in on me. It's been like that since the Olympics."

Very few of the others on the team have, transformed medals into money. "I'm sort of jaded about the whole thing because it hasn't come out fairly," says Dave Silk, who for a while last year, while playing for the New Haven Nighthawks, was making free appearances at supermarkets around town, despite having the same agent as Eruzione and Craig. Jack O'Callahan, another Bostonian, refers to himself as "designated mop-up for Craig and Eruzione," having been invited to appear only when they couldn't. Others, like Mark Johnson, simply avoided the fanfare by design. He didn't acquire a talent agent, saying, "I didn't think I should change my life because of those two weeks. The time commitment was too much, flying here and there. I'd rather play golf with my buddies."

Aside from Eruzione, the Olympians having the most fun are the ones now playing in Europe. John Harrington certainly enjoys hockey in Lugano, Switzerland, more than he did hockey in the minors in Rochester, N.Y. last spring. In his first Rochester game there was a bench-clearing brawl; in the second he took a stick to the chin good for seven stitches; and in the third a vicious cross-check left him with a concussion and his four front teeth wired together for eight weeks. Mark Pavelich, Harrington's teammate in Lugano, went to Europe for a more tender reason. In Lake Placid the waitress who served the U.S. team at the Holiday Inn was Isabelle Hendorf. She is from St. Moritz, a two-hour drive from Lugano. Pavelich knows the road.

The one person who is willing to admit unequivocally that the Olympics not only changed his life, it changed him, is the goalie who never played, Steve Janaszak, now a Colorado Rockies farmhand who regularly commutes between teams in Fort Worth, Texas and Fort Wayne, Ind. One night in the Olympic Village he met Jackie Minichello, a Long Island girl who was working there as an interpreter. They are now engaged. "I'd never have believed I'd get something so terrific out of hockey," Janaszak says.

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