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    Johnson scores twice to make the miracle a reality!

    1980 Mark Johnson "The Miracle on Ice" Game Used Hockey Stick--Photo Matched!

    UPDATE: Upper shaft bears a very faded inscription reading, "To the Maly Family, Thanks so much for your help and friendship, Your friend, Mark Johnson #10."

    Everybody knows that the 1980 US Olympic Hockey round-robin match between the USSR and the US was expected to be a painfully lopsided affair. Of the twenty players who made the final roster of the US team, only one had prior Olympic experience. The rest were primarily college kids, talented but raw, and too young to fully grasp the concept of athletic immortality or the place there that awaited them. The Soviet players were classed as amateurs, but were effectively supported by the Soviet government which provided them with world-class training facilities and unlimited professional-level team play. Three of the Soviet team members, goalie Vladislav Tretiak and forwards Valeri Kharlamov and Viacheslav Fetisov, are today enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Not a single player on the American team can boast that distinction.

    Three times the Soviets took the lead, and three times the Americans battled back to even footing. The game-winner would come with ten minutes left to play, when Mike Eruzione, left undefended in the high slot, scored the fourth goal for the home team, sending the Lake Placid crowd of 8,500 into hysterics. But nothing could match the decibel level as sportscaster Al Michaels gave his famous, game-closing call:

    "Eleven seconds, you've got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?...YES!"

    Heritage famously auctioned the personal collection of team captain Mike Eruzione in 2013, the stick used for his game-winning goal garnering a winning bid of $262,900, a figure likely to be dwarfed if it were to reappear on the auction block. But a strong argument could be made that this one, wielded by his teammate Mark Johnson, was even more essential to the historic underdog victory.

    Johnson would score twice in the contest, and his first is now widely considered the most consequential of the contest. With just one second remaining in the first period, Johnson retrieved a rebound misplayed by Tretiak and blasted it into the Soviet net to tie the game at two. Boiling with emotion, the Russian coach immediately benched the man widely considered to be the greatest living goalie on the planet, a decision that shocked both teams and may well have been the key to American victory. Nearly a decade later, Johnson would find himself on the same New Jersey Devils team as Soviet opponent Fetisov, and asked him why Tretiak had been benched. "Coach crazy," came the reply.

    But the Soviets would score again in second period to take a three-to-two lead into the final period, and yet again Johnson would answer, knotting the score at three and setting the stage for Eruzione's game-winner. Ten minutes of scoreless play later, the greatest event in American sports history was complete, the Americans crashing into one another in a jubilant dogpile as the Russians watched in silent despair.

    Minutes later, Johnson spotted his lifelong friend David Maly at the edge of the ice, celebrating alongside Johnson's family who'd traveled up from Wisconsin to Lake Placid. Johnson tossed the stick over the glass to Maly, who has cherished it for more than four decades before consigning it to this Platinum Night auction.

    Beyond Maly's letter of provenance, authenticity is assured by a distinct photo match to the battle-scarred stick, notably a v-shaped mark beneath the letter "o" in "Northland." A link to that image will appear at our online listing. The blade has lost a bit of its original tape but the stick otherwise remains unchanged from that red-letter day in American sports history. "Johnson" is stamped at both sides of upper shaft, with grip tape at the knob and special "USA" foil tape just above the blade. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Letter of provenance from David Maly. Photo match. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 43
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