1980 Olympic Attention.
The new heights of popularity achieved by the National Hockey League (NHL) in the 1980s stems in part from the interest in the sport generated when the United States hockey team shocked the world by upsetting the mighty Soviets and later winning the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The "Miracle on Ice" at Lake Placid "wound up being, quite literally, an icebreaker in terms of the sport's visibility at home and the new stature American hockey attained with the National Hockey League," wrote Robin Finn of The New York Times on the tenth anniversary of the event. "Suddenly hockey gained viability as a career for aspiring athletes who might otherwise have looked to other sports as their launching pads." Moreover, the U.S. hockey team's victory brought the sport to millions of viewers who were caught up in the excitement of the unfolding national drama but who had no previous knowledge of or interest...
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