Getty ImagesWhen the jersey that Canadian hockey hero Paul Henderson wore during the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union sold for a record $1.2 million at auction in 2010, Mike Eruzione got an idea.
Since the 4-3 "Miracle on Ice" victory over the Soviets at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., the equipment the American captain used had been sitting in a bag in his attic. It wasn't doing anyone any good up there, so Eruzione saw an opportunity to help out his family by auctioning his gear from those Games.
On Saturday in New York City, the jersey that Eruzione wore when he scored the game-winning goal against the Soviets -- along with the stick he used and other memorabilia from the Lake Placid Games -- was sold at auction, via Heritage Auctions.
The winning bid for the "Miracle" jersey was $550,000. Tacking on a buyer's premium, the final total was $657,250. The stick finished at $262,900 (including buyer's premium). Eruzione's jersey worn against Finland in the final game sold for $286,800.
“The ‘Miracle on Ice’ is the greatest American sports moment of the 20th century and a moment that transcended all geo-political boundaries,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports at Heritage Auctions. “Tonight we saw collectors show Mike Eruzione, and that entire team, how highly they think of him and of the things he achieved. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more giving person.”
Eruzione's "Miracle" gear isn't the first to hit the sports memorabilia auction scene. Ken Morrow's jersey worn during the game against the Soviets sold for over $104,000 last January. In Nov. 2010, via Heritage Auctions, Mark Wells' gold medal sold for over $310,000. Another Team USA gold from those Games was available via Heritage on Saturday night, but Steve Christoff's medal did not reach its reserved price of $350,000 and a private sale between the seller and a buyer will be attempted.
The one piece of "Miracle" memorabilia Eruzione declined to put on auction was his gold medal.
"The gold medal will never be sold as long as I'm alive,"Eruzione told ESPN's John Buccigross in December. "If something happens to me and my kids/grandkids want to do something with it, hopefully it's for the right reasons."
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
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