The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

by Wayne Coffey
4.4 67

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Overview

The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team by Wayne Coffey

Once upon a time, they taught us to believe. They were the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, a blue-collar bunch led by an unconventional coach, and they engineered perhaps the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century. Their “Miracle on Ice” has become a national fairy tale, but the real Cinderella story is even more remarkable. It is a legacy of hope, hard work, and homegrown triumph. It is a chronicle of everyday heroes who just wanted to play hockey happily ever after. It is still unbelievable.

The Boys of Winter is an evocative account of the improbable American adventure in Lake Placid, New York. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews, Wayne Coffey explores the untold stories of the U.S. upstarts, their Soviet opponents, and the forces that brought them together.

Plagued by the Iran hostage crisis, persistent economic woes, and the ongoing Cold War, the United States battled a pervasive sense of gloom in 1980. And then came the Olympics. Traditionally a playground for the Russian hockey juggernaut and its ever-growing collection of gold medals, an Olympic ice rink seemed an unlikely setting for a Cold War upset. The Russians were experienced professional champions, state-reared and state-supported. The Americans were mostly college kids who had their majors and their stipends and their dreams, a squad that coach Herb Brooks had molded into a team in six months. It was men vs. boys, champions vs. amateurs, communism vs. capitalism.

Coffey casts a fresh eye on this seminal sports event in The Boys of Winter, crafting an intimate look at the team and giving readers an ice-level view of the boys who captivated a country. He details the unusual chemistry of the Americans—formulated by a fiercely determined Brooks—and he seamlessly weaves portraits of the players with the fluid, fast-paced action of the 1980 game itself. Coffey also traces the paths of the players and coaches since that time, examining how the events in Lake Placid affected and directed their lives and investigating what happens after one conquers the world.

But Coffey not only reveals the anatomy of an underdog, he probes the shocked disbelief of the unlikely losers and how it felt to be taken down by such an overlooked opponent. After all, the greatest American sports moment of the century was a Russian calamity, perhaps even more unimaginable in Moscow than in Minnesota or Massachusetts. Coffey deftly balances the joyous American saga with the perspective of the astonished silver medalists.

Told with warmth and an uncanny eye for detail, The Boys of Winter is an intimate, perceptive portrayal of one Friday night in Lake Placid and the enduring power of the extraordinary.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307237316
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 01/11/2005
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 180,211
File size: 579 KB

About the Author

Wayne Coffey is an award-winning sportswriter for New York’s Daily News and the author of more than thirty books. He lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. If you love hockey, read this book.
ktrefz93 More than 1 year ago
Living in the Moment In 1980, the XIII Olympic Winter Games were held in Lake Placid, New York. At the time the United States was struggling with an economic slump, fighting an oil crisis, and facing many overseas issues like the Iranian Hostage Crisis and the Cold War with the USSR. Morale was down throughout American citizens. Wayne Coffey relinquishes a defining moment of these Olympics and American sports history that changes the course of American spirit by retelling the hockey game of USA vs. USSR in the medal semi-finals in the book The Boys of Winter. The Boys of Winter is a compelling story about hard-work, determination, the cohesiveness of a team, and reaching goals. This book is a fantastic read for someone who is looking for a thrilling recount of the biggest hockey game in American history. The book provides amazing information and enticing stories of players and coaches, but it is not a history lesson. The Boys of Winter starts nearly at the first drop of the puck in Lake Placid on February 22, 1980 and ends after 60 minutes of a hard-hitting hockey game. I was aware I might be disappointed by this book because I already knew the beginning, middle, and end by watching Disney’s take on the event, the movie Miracle. However, Coffey conveys his own unique spin on the game by accounting for nearly every second spent on the ice, the logistics surrounding it, and my favorite part, expertly intertwined descriptions of each USA player’s personality through special stories of their lives before and after that game. He highlights the strengths of the players enough to make me believe that this win did not just come from a well-conditioned, fairly talented and hard-working group of players; it came from a team where each and every player had their own special addition, from the will to lead by example to the will to disprove stereotypes, that was hand-selected by coach Herb Brooks. This book was generally a very quick and easy read, but at times when Coffey was detailing every shot took in each period it would drag on. The extensive hockey vocabulary was hard to follow, especially for someone who does not play the sport. He matches his specialized moments by enticing and personable stories that make this book fun to read for someone who is looking for more than just the movie portrays about the game and all the United States players.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The novel The Boys of Winter by Coffey is an amazing story of the 1980 Olympic miracle on ice. This story shows how so many players from diverse areas of the country were able to come together and unite in order to win a gold medal. The book gives a great play by play of the game against the Russians that brought the U.S.A. together. At times this book may sound like it is promoting the violence of the game due to the detail Coffey goes into on the hits but he is just trying to tell an accurate account of the game, nothing more. This is the story of a group of men coming together against all odds, this is not just a book about hockey. So even if the reader does not enjoy hockey they should still enjoy this book. The portrayal of Coach Herb Brooks by Coffey is amazing, the reader gets to see exactly what he had to go through in order to unify that team. Overall The Boys of Winter is highly recommended and all sports fans should take the time to read this.
MinTwinsNY 30 days ago
Any American sports fan will know where he or she was on February 22, 1980. It was on that date that 20 young men from the United States defeated the hockey team from the Soviet Union in the Winter Olympics. It is considered by many, including this reviewer, as the greatest sports event that has occurred and will not be repeated. The stories behind this game and the players and Coach Herb Brooks are told in this book by Wayne Coffey. The book starts and ends with scenes from Brooks’ funeral after he was killed in an auto accident in 2003. There are short biographies of Brooks and each of the 20 players scattered throughout the description of the action on the ice during that game. The format makes for great reading for the print version and while also excellent for the audio version, the listener will have to pay close attention so that when the narration changes from player story back to the game, there is no disconnect. The game replay is excellent with not only goals and saves described but each check, each penalty and each steal of the puck by either team relived in great detail. On occasion I will watch a video of the game and get chills, even after all these years. I had the same reaction when Heyborne was describing key events of the game, such as Mark Johnson’s goal with one second remaining in the first period, spectacular saves by goaltender Jim Craig and certainly the winning goal by Mike Eruzione. Any reader who either wants to relive that special game or wants to learn why this team and event is still revered more than 35 years later will want to pick up this book. Even though it was originally published in 2005, the stories and events are just as thrilling to relive now as they were then.
SilenceDogood1776 More than 1 year ago
If you've never read this book, I suggest picking it up today (even if you don't like hockey). The story of the 1980 US Hockey Team is one of legend. It's the stuff you never dream could happen, but yet, on a cold February day in 1980, in a small town in New York, a bunch of college kids united an entire nation (and beyond), and made everyone a believer. These young men - players from diverse areas of the country with different backgrounds and personalities - were able to come together and unite under the guidance of one of the most unconventional coaches in history. By doing so, they achieved the impossible: beat the Soviets, and went on to win the Gold Medal. America clung to the victory tight, holding it close, and reliving that day over and over and over. This win was far bigger than what it was on paper - it represented the very best of true American heart. It gave everyone hope. It made us feel proud, and showed that David CAN slay Goliath. It proved that with determination and teamwork, miracles DO happen. For one moment, on that cold February day in 1980, every single citizen was part of that team...and still are to this day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book! This book is about the 1980 Olympic Hockey Game. The game was between Russia and the United States for the gold medal, which the US won four to three. It talks about the players and the coach and how they got to the olympics and what their lives were like before. A major message from this book is that if you work hard than anything is possible. I liked all the the background information the book provided. The description of the game was very attention grabbing. The only thing that I didn't like was that it was a little confusing switching from the game to the background information. Others should read this book because it was very interesting. It gives a great story of the 1980 Olympic final hockey game. 
JessMyller More than 1 year ago
A Perfect Book For Anyone Who Loves Hockey The Boys of Winter is an enticing text that is extremely descriptive and informative. This book tells the story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team winning the gold medal against the Russian team at the Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York. The setting of this game is what makes this event so defining in history, as it took place during the Cold War. Winning the gold medal for hockey in the Olympics against Russia gave the US an edge in this rivalry and encouraged the American citizens. This book is incredibly inspiring. The odds were completely against the US in this hockey game, but the players’ determination and hard work allowed them to be successful and pull of the most unlikely win of each of their careers. Teamwork is a major theme in this book, as this game would not have been won if the players had not learned to work cohesively. The Boys of Winter also showed how criticism leads to improvement, as Brooks’ tough, unorthodox coaching style resulted in extreme growth in each of the players on his hockey team. While reading The Boys of Winter, I personally really enjoyed the included interviews with the players. It was interesting to learn their views about their coach and his unconventional coaching style, the actual game, and how they went back to living life after this moment of glory. Coffey also wrote mini biographies of each player, which he effortlessly entwined with the main plot of the book. It was interesting to learn about the players’ pasts and their hockey careers prior to the Olympics at Lake Placid. While the text was obviously about the game, it was not a play-by-play commentary of the game. Coffey described the important events of the game including goals and penalties, but he did not go overboard describing each shift of the game. This was a good way to go about writing this book because it keeps the reader engaged rather than losing interest from reading about plays that did not result in anything. The Boys of Winter is an enjoyable book to read, but there were aspects of it that I was not a fan of. Coffey wrote a lot about the history of the hometowns of the players, and I felt like the depth he went to with this information was unnecessary. For example, knowing the populations of the towns that the players grew up in does not contribute to the main idea of the book, and this information becomes boring to readers. Anyone who is a fan of hockey or wants to learn more about this story should definitely read this book. It is well-written and easy to understand for those who do not know a lot about hockey, all while being extremely interesting and informative.
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Beautiful sport hockey
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Intensity, fearlessness, and a story that truly tells itself. Thats what this this book is about. The book really captures the setting even around the hockey game. At this time alot was going on in America and that is just as much a part of the story as hockey is. The book describes the intensity of the 1980 american hockey society completely. I would recommend this book to anyone who is an avid sports fan. You don't have to be a die-hard hockey fan to read this. If you love competition and sport dedicated books, this is the one for you. Coffey truly captures each hockey game and describes the full intensity of each and every shift on the ice. Coffey's writing style fit the needs of this story completely. He did not try to overpower the story by his writing but allowed the story to be the "cake" and his writing to be the "frosting." He just spiced up and put the intensity inside of it. 
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I enjoyed reading this book. I would recommend this book for any one interested in the 80 Olympic hockey team.
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Felicia Kiblin More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to read if you are interested in hokey and what happened to one of the best hockey team ever put together by Herb Brooks. It tells the story of the 'miracle on ice' of 1980. People wil love this book if they are interested in hockey. I am and i very much enjoyed this book. I could read it over countless times. READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!
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