Herb Brooks

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Herb Brooks
Herb Brooks 1983.JPG
Brooks in 1983 coaching the New York Rangers.
BornHerbert Paul Brooks, Jr.
(1937-08-05)August 5, 1937
Saint Paul, MN, USA
DiedAugust 11, 2003(2003-08-11) (aged 66)
near Forest Lake, MN, USA
OccupationIce hockey coach, player
Spouse(s)Patti Brooks (1965-2003)
ChildrenDanny (son)
Kelly (daughter)
RelativesDavid Brooks (brother)
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Herb Brooks
Herb Brooks 1983.JPG
Brooks in 1983 coaching the New York Rangers.
BornHerbert Paul Brooks, Jr.
(1937-08-05)August 5, 1937
Saint Paul, MN, USA
DiedAugust 11, 2003(2003-08-11) (aged 66)
near Forest Lake, MN, USA
OccupationIce hockey coach, player
Spouse(s)Patti Brooks (1965-2003)
ChildrenDanny (son)
Kelly (daughter)
RelativesDavid Brooks (brother)
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing the  USA
World Championships
Bronze1962 United States(Player)
Winter Olympics
Gold1980 United States(Coach)
Silver2002 United States(Coach)
The 1958–59 Gopher Hockey Team, including Lou Nanne, Larry Smith, and Herb Brooks (#9) who is seated bottom row left.

Herbert "Herb" Paul Brooks, Jr. (August 5, 1937 – August 11, 2003) was an American ice hockey player and coach. His most notable achievement came in 1980 as head coach of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic hockey team at Lake Placid. At the games, Brooks' US team upset the heavily favored Soviet team in a match that came to be known as the 'Miracle on Ice'. Brooks would go on to coach multiple NHL teams, as well as the French hockey team at the 1998 Winter Olympics, and ultimately returned to coach the US men's team to a silver medal at the 2002 games in Salt Lake City. Brooks was killed in a 2003 car accident. At the time of his death, Brooks was the Pittsburgh Penguins' director of player personnel.


Early life[edit]

Herb Brooks was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Herbert Sr. and Pauline Brooks. He attended Johnson High School, where his team won the 1955 state hockey championship.[1]

Brooks continued his hockey career with the University of Minnesota Gophers from 1955 to 1959.[2] He was a member of the 1960 Olympic team, only to become the last cut the week before the Games started. Three weeks later, Brooks sat at home with his father and watched the team he almost made win gold. Afterwards, Brooks "went up to the coach Jack Riley and said, 'Well, you must have made the right decision—you won.'"; this humbling moment served as motivation for an already self-driven person.[3]

From 1960 to 1970, Brooks set a record by playing on a total of eight US National and Olympic teams, including the 1964 and 1968 Olympic squads.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

After retiring as a player, he became a coach, notably leading his alma mater, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, to three NCAA championship titles in 1974, 1976, and 1979. Brooks finished his collegiate coaching with a record of 175 wins, 101 losses and 20 ties.

Soon after Minnesota won their third college championship, he was hired to coach the Olympic team. Hand-picking his team, he named several of his Minnesota players to the team as well as several from their rival, Boston University. To compete with the Soviet Union team specifically, Herb Brooks developed a hybrid of American and Canadian style and the faster European style, which emphasized creativity and teamwork, a difficult thing to do with a tough rivalry between the University of Minnesota and Boston University. He also stressed peak conditioning, believing that one of the reasons the Soviet team had dominated international competition was that many of their opponents were exhausted by the third period.

Brooks was approached by Michigan Tech after head coach John MacInnes died in 1983 but turned their offer down.

After his Olympic gold medal win, Brooks moved to Switzerland for a year to coach HC Davos in the National League A. From 1981 to 1985, he coached in the National Hockey League for the New York Rangers, where he became the first American-born coach in Rangers' team history to win 100 games. He also coached the Minnesota North Stars (from 1987 to 1988), New Jersey Devils (1992–93), and Pittsburgh Penguins (1999–2000). He was a long-time scout for the Penguins from the mid-1990s, and held the role of Director of Player Personnel from 2002 to the day of his death.

Brooks also coached two more Olympic team squads: Team France at the 1998 in Nagano, and the U.S. hockey team again at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The 2002 team defeated the Russians in the semi-finals en route to a silver, losing in the gold medal game to Canada. The U.S. win over Russia came exactly 22 years to the day after the famous 'Miracle on Ice' game.[5][6]

Brooks was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990,[7] the International Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Hockey Hall of Fame (posthumously) in 2006.

Death and legacy[edit]

At the age of 66, Brooks died in a single car accident on the afternoon of August 11, 2003, near Forest Lake, Minnesota, on Interstate 35.[8] It is believed that he fell asleep behind the wheel before the accident after driving all night, and neither drugs nor alcohol was responsible. Brooks was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash, and according to the Minnesota State Patrol it is likely he would have survived the crash if he had been.[9]

Disney released a film about the 1980 Olympic team in 2004 called Miracle featuring Kurt Russell playing the part of Brooks (Karl Malden had previously played Brooks in a 1981 television film called Miracle on Ice). Brooks served as a consultant during principal photography, which was completed shortly before his death. At the end of the movie there is a dedication to Brooks. It states, "He never saw it. He lived it."

Upon the 25th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, the Olympic ice arena in Lake Placid, New York, where the United States won the gold medal, was renamed Herb Brooks Arena. A statue of Brooks depicting his reaction to the victory in the 'Miracle' game was erected at the entrance to the RiverCentre in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 2003.

The Herb Brooks Award is awarded at the conclusion of the Minnesota State High School League's state hockey tournament to "the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined Herb Brooks."[10]

The Herb Brooks Training Center is located at Blaine, Minnesota.

The National Hockey Center at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota was renamed for Brooks in April of 2013. [11]

In 2006, Brooks was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders' category. The inscription reads: "A man of passion and dedication, Herb Brooks inspired a generation of Americans to pursue any and all dreams."[7]


Brooks was married to his wife Patti in 1965, and they had two children, Danny and Kelly.[12]


Brooks' original expressions were known by his players as "Brooksisms." According to Olympians John Harrington, Dave Silk, and Mike Eruzione, these are a few.[13]

Coaching statistics[edit]


Note: GC = Games coached, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OL = Overtime loss, Pts = Points, Pct = Winning percentage

1981–82New York RangersNHL80392714922nd in Patrick0.575 (Lost Second Round)
1982–83New York RangersNHL80353510804th in Patrick0.500 (Lost Second Round)
1983–84New York RangersNHL8042299934th in Patrick0.581 (Lost First Round)
1984–85New York RangersNHL4515228385th in Patrick0.422 (fired)
1987–88Minnesota North StarsNHL80194813515th in Norris0.319 (missed playoffs)
1992–93New Jersey DevilsNHL8440377874th in Patrick0.518 (Lost First Round)
1999–2000Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL58292450633rd in Atlantic0.543 (Lost Second Round)
NHL career totals5072192226605040.497

Other leagues[edit]

Note: GC = Games coached, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OL = Overtime loss, Pts = Points, Pct = Winning percentage

1972–73Minnesota Golden GophersNCAA3415163330.485
1973–74Minnesota Golden GophersNCAA3417125390.574
1974–75Minnesota Golden GophersNCAA4231101630.750
1975-76Minnesota Golden GophersNCAA3823141470.618
1976–77Minnesota Golden GophersNCAA4217223370.440
1977–78Minnesota Golden GophersNCAA3822142460.605
1978–79Minnesota Golden GophersNCAA4432111650.739
1980USA Olympic Men's TeamIIHFGold Medal
1980–81HC DavosSwiss-A2811161230.411
1986–87St. Cloud State HuskiesNCAA3625101510.708
1991–92Utica DevilsAHL8034406740.463
1998France Olympic Men's TeamIIHF11th-place finish
2002USA Olympic Men's TeamIIHFSilver Medal
NCAA career totals308182109173810.619

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dohrmann, George (March 22, 2004). "High School Heaven: Never mind the Twins, Vikings, T-Wolves and Wild — there's nothing in Minnesota to match the state hockey tournament". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 24, 2008. 
  2. ^ America's Coach, Ross Bernstein 28
  3. ^ Calio, Jim (03/10/1980). "A Solitary Soul on Ice, Coach Herb Brooks Drove His Young Olympians to Glory : People.com". People. People Magazine. Retrieved May 30, 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ America's Coach, Ross Bernstein 33-34
  5. ^ a b "USA holds off Russia 3-2 to advance to gold medal game". CNN. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Roenick foils Russia's bid to tie game". CNN. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Hockey Hall of Fame: Herb Brooks". 
  8. ^ America's coach, Ross Bernstein 159
  9. ^ http://www.startribune.com/cars/11355856.html
  10. ^ "2006–2007 MSHSL Athletic Rules and Policies Manual". Minnesota State High School League. December 6, 2006. Retrieved March 11, 2007. 
  11. ^ http://www.stcloudstate.edu/news/newsrelease/default.asp?storyID=40599&SIimageID=15181
  12. ^ "Herb Brooks Foundation". 
  13. ^ America's Coach, Ross Bernstein 77
  14. ^ Coffey, p. 45

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Fred Shero
Head coach of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Craig Patrick
Preceded by
Glen Sonmor
Head coach of the Minnesota North Stars
Succeeded by
Pierre Page
Preceded by
Tom McVie
Head coach of the New Jersey Devils
Succeeded by
Jacques Lemaire
Preceded by
Kevin Constantine
Head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins
Succeeded by
Ivan Hlinka