From Scoring the Goal Heard Round the World to Making Birdies
Mike Eruzione still gets a kick when someone yells to him about his being a member of the magical United States hockey team that won a gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics. He gets an even bigger blast when he reads an email or letter from a youngster who wasn't even born when the U.S. beat the big bad Soviet Union and then Finland to capture the gold. Eruzione had the game-winning goal in the semifinal win over the Soviet Union. "I'll read something that a kid has sent to me telling about how his father told him all about us winning the gold medal," said the 49-year-old Eruzione, who has been director of development for athletics at Boston University for the past 10 years. "That's been especially the case after the movie came out last year about the team and kids got to witness what we did." Eruzione, who lives in Winthrop, Mass. with his wife and their three children, has never shied away from the intense spotlight the magical run of Olympic wins brought to members of the team. The former BU and International Hockey League star went onto an announcing career with Madison Square Garden and ABC television, and launched a highly successful career as a motivational speaker. The United States Olympic Hall of Famer also works for the College Sports Television as a hockey analyst, and is vice president of business development for Gymamerica.com, a health and fitness website. "I guess I have never stopped being involved with winning the gold medal. Speaking and being on television has kept me fairly visible. I enjoyed the movie about our team. It was pretty much dead on and was about a bunch of kids and a moment that touched our lives and touched a nation." Winning a gold medal also led Eruzione to the game of golf. "My hometown gave me a membership at Winthrop Golf Club, a little nine-hole course that we say is a private bar with a golf course attached to it. That got me started in the game and I kept playing and working at it." Eruzione eventually whittled his handicap down from the mid-teens to its current 6 level. "I've always been able to hit the ball hard. I say I'm a struggling six. Some days I'm a four and some days a 10." Eruzione, who was at Fox Hopyard Golf Club in East Haddam to compete in the Canadian club Celebrity Players Championship in June, 2004 plays in about five CPT events a year. "I like the competition, but it's more about the camaraderie and meeting new people. I've developed some great friendships being a part of the Tour and it's always nice to play in front of a gallery." A number of former pro hockey payers, such as Danny Quinn, Grant Fuhr and Pierre Larouche, have become proficient golfers, something Eruzione believes is not by chance. "The hockey shot and a golf swing are similar. And the touch aspect of the two games is also similar, because you need touch around the net and touch around the greens." Eruzione hits the ball an average of about 270 yards off the tee. "I think I'm pretty long until I play in the Celebrity Tour events and see how some of those guys hit the ball. But I'm long enough to be competitive with the guys and leave myself with short irons into many holes." He gets to play three or four times a week. "Living in the Boston area, golf is always dependent upon how the weather is. In the spring, you might play once or twice a week. But I try to get out as much as I can."