The jersey worn by hockey great Mike Eruzione in the United States’ Miracle on Ice victory over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics was auctioned for almost $660,000 on Saturday, though the surprising values of other items like the stick he used to score the winning goal and a jersey he wore in the gold medal game two days later pushed the overall sale to more than $1.3 million.
Spirited bidding drove the value of the hockey stick to $262,900, more than five times the $50,000 it was expected to go for. Gloves he wore throughout the Olympic tournament sold for $53,775, more than 10 times their pre-auction estimates. The blue jersey the team’s captain wore to win the gold against Finland fetched $286,800. Even his warm-up suit sold for $26,290 while his red pants went for $28,680.
As expected, the No. 21 white jersey worn during the epic come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Soviets scored highest, rising to finish at $657,250 during several rounds of bidding. The outcome in Lake Placid, N.Y., was surprising because the U.S. team was largely made up of amateurs playing against a Soviet team of professionals widely considered unbeatable. The 33rd anniversary of the historic game was Friday.
”Tonight, we saw collectors show Mike Eruzione, and that entire team, how highly they think of him and of the things he achieved,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports at the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions. ”It couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more giving person.”
Heritage did not immediately release the buyers’ names, saying it wasn’t known if they wanted to be identified.
Eruzione, 58, who attended the auction, sold the Olympic items to benefit his three adult children and a grandson, along with the Winthrop Foundation, which finances charities in his hometown of Winthrop, Mass., just outside Boston.
Though he received no lucrative endorsements after the hockey victory, Eruzione said in a recent interview that he was not hurting financially.
”I thought this would be a great little nest egg for them for their future with their kids,” he said.
He added that the memorabilia had remained in his USA hockey bag in the attic of his home since the historic Olympic victories.
Still, he kept one treasure.
”As long as I’m alive, the gold medal won’t be sold,” said Eruzione, now director of special outreach at Boston University and a partner in a nutritional supplement business that includes several other ex-Olympians, including gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner.