"You know, Willie Wonka said it best: We are the makers of dreams, the dreamers of dreams. We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we're too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams. I'm a dreamer."- Herb Brooks
Herbert Paul Brooks, Jr. (August 5, 1937 -- August 11, 2003) was an American ice hockey coach, best known for coaching the U.S. hockey team to a gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics in an event known as the Miracle on Ice.
On November 13, 2006, Brooks was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota to Herbert Brooks Sr. and Pauline Brooks, he played on the Johnson High School hockey team that won the 1955 state hockey championship. Brooks also played baseball during the summer. Brooks later played hockey at the University of Minnesota and was a member of the 1964 and 1968 United States Olympic teams. He almost made the 1960 Olympic team, only to be cut the week before the Olympic games started. He then sat at home and watched the team he almost made win gold. Later, he coached the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey team to three NCAA championships (1974, 1976, and 1979). He coached St. Cloud State University in the mid-1980s. In Minnesota, many consider Brooks the best hockey coach of all time. In 1980, he was the first to beat the Soviets in 12 years, which spanned three Olympics.
He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.
Brooks later coached in the National Hockey League for the New York Rangers, where he became the fastest coach in Rangers' team history to win 100 games. He also coached the Minnesota North Stars, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He was a long time head scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins from the mid 1990s until the day of his death.
He again coached the U.S. hockey team in 2002 at the Winter Olympics, this time winning a silver medal. He also coached France in the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Death and legacy
Brooks died in a one-car accident on the afternoon of August 11, 2003, near Forest Lake, Minnesota, on Interstate 35, only six days after he turned 66. It is believed that Brooks fell asleep behind the wheel before the accident after driving all night, and neither drugs nor alcohol were responsible.
Disney released a film about the 1980 Olympic team in 2004 called Miracle featuring Kurt Russell playing the part of Brooks. Brooks served as a consultant during principal photography, which was completed shortly before his death. At the end of the movie there is a dedication to Brooks. It states at the end, "He never saw it. He lived it."
Upon the 25th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, the Olympic ice arena in Lake Placid, New York, where the United States won their gold medal, was renamed Herb Brooks Arena. A statue of Brooks depicting his reaction to the victory in the "Miracle" game was erected in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2003.
An award was created in Herb Brooks name, the Herb Brooks Award, is awarded at the conclusion of the Minnesota State High School League's state hockey tournament to "the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined Herb Brooks."
In Blaine, Minnesota, there a training center called Herb Brooks Training Center. It trains hockey players and figure skater skills like Brooks wanted to do.
The road that surrounds the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota is called Herb Brooks Way.
In 2006, Brooks was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders category. "A man of passion and dedication, Herb Brooks inspired a generation of Americans to pursue any and all dreams."
"We were playing the Soviets right in Madison Square Garden - I knew I had to tweak Jimmy [Craig] again. And he was playing well, but it was a mind thing with him. I said, 'Jimmy, I fucked up.' I said, 'I played you too long. Not your fault. My fault. I see these elements in your game. You're playing tired. My fault, Jimmy.' He says, 'What?' I said, 'I gotta play Janaszak here half the game. I want to give him some work because - I just see some flaws now. And I'm kicking myself, Jimmy. I played you too long.' And he said, 'It's my job, I'll show you, you dirty blah blah blah ...' So halfway through that game, I yanked him. I yanked him right there in front of 18,000 people. And he was livid. This was my last tweak with this guy. I knew what I had. Solid goalkeeper ... Right after we won [in Lake Placid], he came right to me, with his finger in my face, saying, 'I showed you, didn't I. I showed you, didn't I.' I said, 'Yep. You sure did, Jimmy. You did a helluva job, kid.' " -- Herb Brooks, coach