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In partnership with the Herb Brooks Foundation, Sauce Hockey is pleased to release a t-shirt commemorating Coach Herb Brooks as our May 2017 “One T” Society shirt. Proceeds from each shirt sold will go to support the mission of the Herb Brooks Foundation.

Herb Brooks was born on August 5th, 1937 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was raised in a modest duplex in the blue collar area of town. His passion for hockey developed early and in his senior season would lead his St. Paul Johnson squad to the Minnesota high school championship in 1955. His play was noticed by the iconic Coach John Mariucci who recruited Brooks to play at the University of Minnesota. During his collegiate career, Herb would go on to score 45 points for the Golden Gophers.

In the year after graduating from college, Brooks was the last cut on the 1960 Olympic team. Despite this disappointment, he eventually would play on eight US National and Olympic teams over a ten year span. As his playing career wound down, Brooks returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach. In 1972 – 73 he took over as head coach and it was coaching, to borrow a Herb-ism, that ultimately “fed the wolf.”

In just two short seasons he took the Gophers from a last place team to a NCAA Championship. During Brooks’ tenure at Minnesota, the Gophers would post a record of 175-100-20 and win a total of three NCAA Championships, with the last title coming in 1979. On the back of this last championship, Herb was selected to coach the 1980 USA Men’s Olympic team in Lake Placid.

Heading into the 1980 Olympics, the mighty Soviet national team had won six of the seven previous Olympic gold medals and was heavily favored to win gold in Lake Placid. Conversely, the U.S. National team was both the youngest in the Olympic tournament and younger than any prior U.S. Olympic team. In the group stage, both the U.S. and Soviet Union finished undefeated.

In the first game of the medal round, the U.S. faced off against the Soviet team. Going into the third period of the game, the young American team trailed by a goal and had been outshot by the Soviets 12 – 2 in the second period.   On goals by Mark Johnson and Captain Mike Eruzione, the Americans took a 4 – 3 lead with 10 minutes remaining.

Trailing for the first time in the game, the Soviets attacked ferociously. On the U.S. bench, Coach Brooks kept repeating to his players, “Play your game. Play your game.” As a result, instead of going into a defensive shell, the U.S. team continued to play offensively as the Soviets began to panic.   With seconds remaining Sportscaster Al Michaels began to count down the game:

“11 seconds, you've got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!”

The Americans then defeated Finland to clinch the gold medal and cement the 1980 Olympic hockey tournaments as one of the most memorable sporting events of the 20th Century.

Following the 1980 Olympic success, Coach Brooks, like many of his players, would turn pro and began coaching the New York Rangers. His professional coaching career would take him from New York, to Minnesota, to New Jersey, and, finally, to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tragically, on the afternoon of August 11, 2003, Brooks was killed in a one car accident on Interstate 35 near Forest Lake, Minnesota. He was returning home from the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Golf Tournament in Biwabik, where he was once again doing his part to promote the growth of American hockey. He was just 66 years old.

Note: Much of the information in this write up was sourced from the Herb Brooks Foundation website at