The Adirondack Thunder, proud ECHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils and Utica Comets, will honor the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team with “Miracle on Ice Night” presented by the Northway Brewing Company on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Cool Insuring Arena against the Florida Everblades (Florida Panthers).
Former Team USA Forward Buzz Schneider will drop the ceremonial first puck with game time set for 7 p.m. He will meet fans and sign autographs in the Cool Insuring Arena main lobby during the night’s second intermission. Saturday’s game wraps up a three-game set against Florida that starts Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. and continues Friday, Dec 1, at 7 p.m. with $3 Labatt Blue Lights presented by Saratoga Eagle.
The Thunder will wear commemorative “ADK” jerseys on Saturday inspired by the 1980 Team USA sweaters from the “Miracle on Ice” win over the Soviet Union and subsequent gold-medal game victory over Finland in nearby Lake Placid. The game-worn Thunder jerseys will be auctioned off to fans on the DASH app afterwards to raise funds for the Miracle Monument.
“The 1980 team defined grit, determination, selflessness, and heart. Every time we can host one of the players from the Miracle on Ice squad is an absolute treat and I am excited for Thunder fans to meet these on-ice heroes,” said Adirondack Thunder President Jeff Mead. “I have the privilege of working in hockey every day and I am hard pressed to think of a single event that shaped American hockey more than those two weeks in Lake Placid.”
Schneider, whose given name is William, picked up the nickname “Buzz” from his grandmother who called him by the Croatian word for brother when he was a baby. He played on the 1974 NCAA Champion University of Minnesota hockey team under Herb Brooks and is credited as one of Team USA’s leaders during the Olympic Games. Schneider was the oldest player on Team USA, 25, and the only returnee from the 1976 Olympic squad. The 1980 team was his fifth national team and he scored five goals with three assists as a member of the top-scoring “Coneheads” line named for their “alien” playstyle and the famous Saturday Night Live characters.
Ultimately, Schneider had 20 goals in 50 total games for Team USA before he retired from hockey in 1983. Inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 as member of the 1980 team, Schneider’s son Billy portrayed him in the 2004 Disney movie Miracle.
Queensbury’s Northway Brewing Co. will have Miracle on Ice Golden Ale available for sampling and purchase in a keepsake can during Saturday’s game. Partial proceeds from the sale of the special label brew will benefit the “Monument to a Miracle” fundraising initiative. Friends of the 1980 Miracle Hockey Team, LLC is a nonprofit organization, which is raising funds to build a life-size statue in Lake Placid to honor the “Miracle on Ice” Hockey Team.
“Fans can support the Thunder and help solidify the legacy of one of the most iconic teams in hockey history all on the same night,” said Mead. “It doesn’t really get better than that.”