CNY man owns a piece of history from 1980 men's hockey team gold medal game

1980 Olympics in Lake Placid

Thirty-eight years ago, hours after the U.S. hockey team shocked the former Soviet Union in the infamous Miracle on Ice game, Jim Hartnett and his four brothers-in-law jumped in the family van and headed to Lake Placid to watch the U.S. compete for the gold medal.

"And then through some magic and prayers, and cajoling, and different things, we ended up getting into that game," Hartnett said.

The Syracuse native said the 8,000-seat Olympic arena was bursting at the seams.

"The seats were catch-as-catch can. I was sitting in the aisle," he said.

The U.S. took on the fast and highly skilled Finland team, still riding the buzz of their upset over the Soviets.

"From the moment the puck dropped, and the last seconds, the last half minute counting down, I mean the place was just booming. You couldn't hear yourself think it was unbelievable," Hartnett said.

With about ten minutes left in the game, Boston University's Mike Eruzione scored the goal to seal the victory for the red, white and blue.

When the final whistle blew, in an iconic moment, one of Hartnett's brothers-in-law jumped onto the ice with his American flag.

"I think Jim Craig actually called him over because he was showing him the flag and Peter jumped over and threw the flag around Jimmy and the rest is kind of history from that point on," Hartnett said.

Craig, the winning goalie, skated around with the flag over his shoulders.

Years later, in exchange for keeping it, Craig gave Hartnett and the guys something to remember the moment.

"He gave us the picture and wrote on the stick there. You know, I hope that I can take a good care of it as your family has taken care of it. That's just about how the story went," Hartnett said.

For Hartnett, these symbols are reminders of a day he and many others will never forget.

"People were singing at the top of their lungs. It was an unbelievable feeling. You were proud to be an American," Hartnett said.

Proud to be an American and proud of the team that shocked the world.

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