whose broad stripes and bright stars

“One of the most startling and dramatic upsets in Olympic history,” Gerald Eskenazi called it in The New York Times when the U.S. beat the mighty Soviet Union on this day in 1980 in Lake Placid, New York — but you knew that already. The score was 4-3 by the end of that fateful semi-final — see below to relive all the drama of the last few minutes, after Mark Pavelich intercepted a Soviet pass. Beating the Soviets earned the Americans the right to play Finland in the Olympic final two days later, where they prevailed once more, 4-2, and duly collected their golds.

One of the memorable images from the aftermath of the Soviet game was of U.S. goaltender, Jim Craig, touring the ice of the Olympic Field House with a flag caped about his shoulders. That’s it in the thread here above, as it appeared in 2015 when the former Boston University goalkeep decided to sell items from his 1980s treasury via the New Jersey auction house Lelands.

Measuring 5’ by 9.5’, these “forensically photo-matched and authenticated” stars and stripes went on the block attached to an appraised value of between US$1,000,000 and US$1,500,000. With the on-line auction inviting opening bids on the latter … none was forthcoming. At a second auction in 2016, when the bidding started at US$100,000, the flag attracted seven bids without selling — the final offer of US$611,591 failed to meet the reserve on a lot that Lelands called “the sports version of the Declaration of Independence, the “Rosebud” sled, or the suit Neil Armstrong wore to walk on the Moon.” (Take your pick, I guess.)

Craig’s 1980 gold medal also failed to sell, as did the sweater he wore against the Soviets. That 2016 sale did move 13 other lots from the goaltender’s Olympic collection, raising a total of close to US$292,000. Craig’s mask went for US$137,849, and his blocker for US$23,033. You could have had his skates for US$17,569, though you probably didn’t; his goalie pants went for a mere US$1,320.

Last Minutes of Play: Iillustrator Ben Dunn’s version of the events of this day in 1980, as seen in his and Joe Dunn’s 2007 graphic history, Miracle On Ice.


pure laine

16 + 9: John Taylor’s 1960 photograph of gear belonging to brothers Henri and Maurice Richard. (Photo: McCord Museum, Montreal)

When they burn down The Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, Moira McCaffrey is making a dash for Champlain’s astrolabe. I know: it’s a shock to me, too, this news of the coming conflagration at one of the country’s most beloved museums, but if Maclean’s is reporting it in their July 9 edition, I guess it’s true.

 Or — okay: if. Now that I’ve re-read it I see what they’re is saying that if flames were to flare in the museum, and McCaffrey happened to be on hand, wearing (maybe) an asbestos suit, assuming (as Maclean’s does) that the museum’s vice-president of research and collections only had time to save ten pieces, Champlain’s astrolabe is one of the artifacts she’d pass through heat and smoke to rescue. Also: the last Red Ensign to fly above Parliament Hill in 1965 before we got our new Maple Leaf; Sir John A. Macdonald’s golden watch; Sir George Back’s watercolour of Sir John Franklin’s fateful HMS Terror; and (of course) Rocket Richard’s red woolen number 9, the sacred cloth of which dates from the last years of his career, 1955-60, and was manufactured by L.J. Parent & Fils Ltée. in Montreal.