The Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks are getting ready to take the action on the ice outdoors on Saturday, but as the players prepare to lace up their skates, NBC and NBCSN are remembering one of the most influential games in hockey history with coverage both before and after the NHL Stadium Series matchup.
The 35th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” between the USA and USSR that captivated fans during the 1980 Winter Olympics will be the focus of an “NHL Live” special as the show goes on the road to Lake Placid, New York, where the medal-round game took place, and for which TheWrap has exclusive video.
Back when politicians for the U.S. and the Soviet Union were still engaged in the Cold War, the underdog Americans went head-to-head with some of the world’s best hockey players from the Eastern Bloc.
Team USA netted a 4-3 victory and went on to win the gold medal after later defeating Finland.
The anniversary special will be part of NBC’s coverage of the Kings-Sharks NHL Stadium Series game on NBCSN, played outdoors at the San Francisco 49ers’ new Levi’s Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. PT. It will also appear throughout NBC and NBCSN’s “Hockey Day In America” and NHL Tripleheader on Sunday, which boasts 11 hours of hockey coverage.
Along with the live games, the coverage will include a reunion of the 1980 USA men’s hockey team, and an interview with player Mark Wells, who describes the unexpected win to host Jimmy Roberts as “magic … it was a miracle.”
Wells went on to face his own personal struggles, forced to sell his gold medal to pay medical bills after being diagnosed with a rare spinal disease. “It was the most painful thing in my life — all the years, all the hard work, all the glory,” he said.
The special will also feature a story on Josh Sweeney — Team USA’s sledge hockey hero at the Sochi Paralympic Games — and an interview with Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, whose father Bob was a member of the 1980 team. Suter Sr. passed away on Sept. 8 and will have his number retired in Lake Placid on Sunday.
The NHL Stadium Series between the Kings and Sharks airs on NBCSN at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET Saturday; The “Hockey Day In America” pre-game show begins at 9 a.m. PT/noon ET on NBC Sunday, followed by the Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins vs. Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild (on NBCSN.)
Watch the exclusive video here.