Off-Ice News

Long May You Run: Eruzione’s story captured in new book

New York Times reporter Neal Boudette (COM ‘84) had never written a book before, but two years ago, he found the perfect topic.

“I was in my car and I heard this song come on the radio, and it’s the song that’s used for the closing credits on this HBO documentary about the Miracle on Ice. It’s a Neil Young song, ‘Long May You Run,’” recalled Boudette.

“Of course it makes me think of that documentary and I thought ‘you know, in 2020 it’s going to be 40 years since the Miracle on Ice – that’s a great time to do a book!”

In late February, four decades ago, a group of college hockey players in red, white and blue completed what has long been regarded as the greatest upset in American sports history. It was a miracle, and that description has stuck.

Spearheading that team was captain Mike Eruzione, whose go-ahead goal in the third period pushed Team USA past the highly-favored Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.

40 years later, Eruzione continues to travel the country, telling the story of the team, the tournament, and the “Miracle on Ice,” all of which led to a championship that still stands as the USA men’s national hockey team’s most recent Olympic gold medal.

In all the time spent representing the team, though, Eruzione has not had a chance to tell his own story; a story about a Boston kid who didn’t think he had a future in hockey, played at BU purely by chance, and went on to become a national hero.

Finally, with the help of Boudette, Eruzione’s story has been told.

“Books have been written about [the Miracle on Ice], but never the participants,” Boudette said. “There are books … but they were second-hand accounts because they were written by people who weren’t in the room. They didn’t live it.”

For Boudette, there was no one better to tell the tale of the Miracle on Ice from a player’s perspective than the captain himself.

“He’s become a favorite person to go to when someone’s going to go retell the story,” said Boudette. “Because he scored such an important goal, and because he was captain, and just because of his personality, Mike has become kind of the public spokesman for the team.”

In Eruzione’s eyes, though, deciding to write this book was about more than just providing deeper insight into the 1980 Olympic tournament.

“I wrote the book for one reason and one reason only,” he said.

“I want my grandkids to know that Papa’s life wasn’t just two weeks in Lake Placid.”

As is described in great detail in the book, Eruzione was a three-sport athlete in high school, and in looking towards collegiate athletics, joining the Boston University hockey program didn’t cross his radar until just weeks before his freshman year.

“Weeks before the season’s gonna start … and [BU head coach Jack Parker’s] got this open scholarship [saying], ‘what am I gonna do,’” said Boudette. “Parker picks [Eruzione] up off the street, and the guy becomes the all-time leading scorer in school history.”

Eruzione co-captained BU in his senior season, winning his fourth consecutive ECAC title. After graduating from BU’s School of Education in 1977, Eruzione set his sights on being selected to Team USA for the 1980 Olympics.

His own Terrier teammate, Olympian Jack O’Callahan, didn’t think Eruzione would make the team, let alone become its captain.

Eruzione clearly shattered O’Callahan’s expectations, and upon its official release to the public, his book has turned heads, too.

As Boudette shared, “our first signing was in New Jersey. The place was jammed, they sold every last book they had – they had 423 books. After they ran out of books, they gave people these stickers that Mike could sign so that they could paste them into their books.”

Even 40 years after the event itself, the Miracle on Ice still connects with Americans nationwide.

“Our team brought so much joy to so many people,” said Eruzione. “Everybody’s got a story to tell – where they were, what they were doing, who they were with.”

In his post-playing career, Eruzione is just as well-traveled as his team’s story. He speaks at business conferences around the United States, and while he says it never gets old, he does embrace the opportunity to share a different story with this book.

“The book is far from what I talk about when I talk at sales meetings,” he said. “It’s … an opportunity for me to tell my story.”

Eruzione will be selling and signing copies of his book at the BU men’s hockey game against Merrimack College on Friday, February 7. The 288-page hardcover can also be purchased online and at various bookstores nationwide.

Comments are closed.