A historic U.S. hockey Olympic moment is on the auction block, with iconic items from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. win over the Soviet team in Lake Placid — such as the gold medal, goalie mask and cowboy hat belonging to Jim Craig, whose saves helped clinch the victory — expected to fetch several million dollars.
Patriotic euphoria spread throughout the country after the unexpected American win on Feb. 22, 1980, which was embodied after the game when goalie Craig skated on the ice with the American flag draped over his shoulders.
“It’s a moment in time that helps me appreciate how dreams can happen,” Craig, of Massachusetts, said in an interview Tuesday. He said he wants his collection of memorabilia to be purchased by someone who can offer the items for public viewing.
“I can’t gift it. I was thinking of someone like Mr. [Steve] Wynn or Mr. [Donald] Trump. Someone who has the capital to display this great American moment in time,” Craig said, referring to the casino and resort developers. “The collection needs a safe place where a lot of people go and can see it.”
The online auction of 17 items includes the American flag he Craig donned, which is expected to fetch $1 million. “I like to see it sell for $1.5 million,” said Josh Evans, chairman of Lelands, the Bohemia auction house that is selling the hockey collection. Evans said Craig’s white jersey worn during the U.S.-Soviet game is worth between $750,000 and $1 million.
Evans, who sold a Babe Ruth New York Yankees jersey for $4.5 million four years ago, appraised the value of the Craig collection. “People want a piece of the moment, especially when it comes to sports,” said Evans, who started selling baseball cards by age 8 at Long Island flea markets.
Also on the auction block are Craig’s skates; two hockey sticks, one signed by all the team members; and the cowboy hat he wore, which was part of the 1980 Olympic team uniform. Craig’s leather leg and arm padding and the sneakers he worn at the gold medal presentation also is being sold. The online auction ends June 17.
“This is a chapter of my life and I want my children to benefit from this,” said Craig, adding the collection was on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame for 30 years. His two children are now 27 and 25.
After the famous Olympic win, Craig went on to play for the Atlanta Flames and the Boston Bruins. A hamstring injury forced him into retirement from pro sports, but he became a motivational speaker following a career in sales.