On February 22nd, 1980, with three seconds left on the clock, Al Michaels famously asked Americans if they believed in miracles. The occasion? The United States Olympic hockey team, a rag-tag group of college players from around the United States, with Herb Brooks at the helm, was about to defeat the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) 4-3 and move on to play in the gold medal game against Finland.
For decades, the Soviets were a powerhouse in the international hockey community, collecting seven of the last nine gold medals heading into the 1980 Olympics and consistently challenged the notion that players in the National Hockey League were the best in the world. If the hockey fans around the globe didn’t already believe in miracles, they did after that game.
From the “Miracle on Ice” game, the United States would go on to win the gold medal against Finland, their first since 1960. One of the most iconic photographs from the gold medal game is of goaltender Jim Craig standing on the ice with an American flag draped over his shoulders. That flag was given to him by Syracuse resident Peter Cappuccilli Jr. Cappuccilli would eventually get the flag back, but, in 1998, while Craig was honorary captain at the AHL All-Star Game at the War Memorial hosted by the Syracuse Crunch, he gave the flag back to Craig.
In 2015, Craig announced he would be selling his memorabilia, including the flag, which was estimated to be worth some 1 million dollars.
“For the past 35 years, these items have been at the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Boston Sports Museum, the New York Sports Museum and I think we’ve done a good job showing them because this moment was so big that I truly believe everyone was a part of it,” Craig told ESPN.com. “But after the 35th anniversary, and after our teammate Bobby Suter died, I thought it was important to be responsible with these pieces to grow and protect the legacy for my family.”