President Donald Trump welcomed the hockey players who played the famous “Miracle on Ice” to his rally in Las Vegas on Friday, surprising the crowd in the arena.
Trump called up several members of the team on stage during his rally, many of them wearing “Keep America Great” hats.
The president praised goaltender Jim Craig, who blocked 37 shots on the goal during the game.
“That was some goaltending, right? … A lot of shots, he was like a piñata.” Trump said.
The team, which famously beat the Russians in ice hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics, was in Las Vegas celebrating the 40th anniversary of the historic game.
Present for the rally were team captain Mike Eruzione, goaltender Jim Craig, Bill Baker, Dave Christian, Ken Morrow, Jack O’Callahan, Mike Ramsey, Mark Wells, Neil Broten, John Harrington, Rob McClanahan, Buzz Schneider, Dave Silk, Phil Verchota, and assistant coach Craig Patrick.
“A lot of people, a lot of these sports experts, sportswriters have voted that as the single greatest sporting event or athletic achievement,” Trump said.
Trump invited them to speak at the rally, but they politely declined.
“They said, ‘Four more years,’” Trump said to the crowd.
The president asked the team to pay tribute to Herb Brooks, the coach of their team who died in 2003.
“[He] was an amazing coach. He was a great teacher. He was a great motivator, at times maybe too much of a motivator,” Eruzione said. “He was very demanding; he was very difficult to play for, but trust me on one thing, there never once was a day that we didn’t respect the man.”
The team and the president encouraged Brooks’s daughter Kelly to speak about her father and eventually convinced her to take the podium.
Fighting back tears, she said, “I’m honored that his legacy still is alive today, and he would be proud to be here with you all, and my personal opinion, he would be a Trump fan.”