A new statue of Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 gold-medal winning Miracle on Ice team, was unveiled on Wednesday in downtown St. Paul. The statue was presented by the Minnesota Wild Foundation, which was joined at the ceremony by eight members of the 1980 Olympics team, members of Brooks’ family, and Wild owner Craig Leipold.
The new statue was unveiled in the same location (317 Washington Street) where the former one stood in downtown St. Paul. A crowd of over 100 invited guests and fans stood by and cheered.
Herb will always be remembered for his love of the game, for his contributions, competitive approach and of course, the results that followed,” said Leipold. “For some time, we’ve discussed enhancing his statue. With the recent opening of the new restaurant Herbie’s On The Park right next to it, the right moment had arrived.”
Eight of Brooks’ locally-based “Miracle On Ice” players were on hand for the unveiling: Neal Broten, Dave Christian, Steve Christoff, John Harrington, Rob McClanahan, Mike Ramsey, Buzz Schneider, and Eric Strobel along with Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, son of Bob Suter.
Our 1980 Olympic success was made possible by Herb’s vision of what he wanted his USA Hockey team to look and play like,” said Harrington. “His passion to teach, coach and motivate his players. He taught us, along with future players and coaches, to dream big.”
The new statue, designed by local artist Nick Christensen, is 11 feet tall and positioned atop a 5-foot-high base, roughly twice the size of the original. Like its predecessor, it depicts Brooks’ famous pose as he celebrated Team USA’s remarkable gold-medal-winning victory at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY. Made out of bronze utilizing a 3D imaging process, it will be illuminated by six permanent uplights that encircle the statue.
The former statue will be relocated in front of the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn., at the request of the Brooks family and the Herb Brooks Foundation, which had been interested in erecting a statue of its own.
“It’s truly humbling knowing that after all these years, my father continues to inspire,” said Herb’s son Dan Brooks. “The Brooks Family is truly honored. Thank you Craig Leipold and the Minnesota Wild for this special day.”
Brooks was a leading advocate for the creation of the Schwan Super Rink, the largest of its kind in the world attracting 2 million visitors annually, the second-most visited location in Minnesota after Mall of America. The complex serves youth hockey, high school hockey, figure skating, short-track speed skating, broomball, open skating and various tournaments each year. It also serves as the headquarters for the Herb Brooks Foundation.
The new statue and the relocation of the original was made possible thanks to a generous group of donors that are recognized on a bronze plaque affixed on the statue’s base in downtown Saint Paul.
Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn, courtesy Minnesota Wild.