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Examiner
  • Bill Althaus: Meet some legends Saturday at IEC

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  • Where were you when … ?
    That question often deals with a tragic moment in our nation's history.
    Where were you when 9/11 took place?
    What grade were you in when Kennedy was assassinated?
    Do you recall the moment the Challenger exploded in our atmosphere as millions watched its launch on television?
    However, there is one “Where were you?” moment that still gives me goose bumps.
    Where were you when a group of underdog kids from the United States upset the greatest hockey team in the world, the Soviet Union, and went on to win the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y.?
    I was at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kan., covering one of the most storied teams in the history of the state. During the game, a timeout was called and the public address announcer cried out, “The United States has defeated Russia at Lake Placid.”
    I can't imagine the scene at Times Square when our country found out World War II had ended, but this night at Wyandotte High School, strangers hugged, kissed, high-fived and pandemonium broke out.
    I remember Wyandotte coach George Czaplinski just looking into the stands smiling.
    It was a magical moment, and now, Missouri Mavericks fans can share some of that magic as members of the “Miracle on Ice” team will visit the Independence Events Center and take part in the 7:05 p.m. game Saturday against Quad City.
    There will be unique auction items, an autograph session beginning at 6 p.m., and the chance to chat with the boys who are now men and indelibly etched into our memory.
    After more than 40 years of sports writing, I have been lucky enough to have visited with legends like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Joe Namath, Julius Erving, Jim Brown, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams.
    I've also had the opportunity to chat with both George H.W. and George W. Bush – two huge baseball fans – and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen.
    But I had never been graced by the presence of a Miracle on Ice team member until I met Ken Morrow a couple of weeks ago. He is everything a hero should be – gracious, humble and willing to tell stories that he must have regaled fans with thousands of times.
    He and Buzz Schneider, Dave Christian and team captain Mike Eruzione will all be at the IEC Saturday, and earlier in the day they will take part in a series of events at The Rink at The Village at Burlington Creek (6109 N.W. 63rd Terrace, Kansas City, Mo. 64151, 816-249-2600).
    If you want to feel like a kid again, defy the weathermen, head up north or to the Events Center and say hello to some real legends.
    Page 2 of 2 - Maybe years from now, someone will ask you, “Where were you when the 1980 Olympic team members came to the IEC?”
    Bill Althaus is a sports writer and columnist for The Examiner. Reach him at 350-6333 or bill.althaus@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
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