The state of New York was home to USA Hockey’s greatest moment. Thirty-eight years removed from the "Miracle on Ice," it still has not lost its luster. We always get the reminder when February rolls around, and even more so during a Winter Olympics year. Many have credited that moment with heavily contributing to the surge of great hockey-playing Americans we saw in the 1990s.
So when the NHL began its participation in the Olympics in 1998, it was supposed to be time for the U.S. to solidify its place on the international stage. Having won the World Cup two years before, and loaded with NHL All-Star talent, the Yanks actually were expected to compete for gold, not just compete. Nagano went sideways, but the Olympics since have been littered with excitations and disappointments. Meanwhile, the reality stands that the U.S., despite being respected as a hockey power, has not won a gold medal since Lake Placid, with or without NHLers.
This year, of course, the NHL will not be making its way to South Korea. Instead, it will be a more unheralded group that will don the USA jerseys. That word, "unheralded," was chosen because it is certainly not an incapable group. The 1980 team was a group of bold collegians, but the 2018 team will be a mix of seasoned pros and, yes, a couple of those bold collegians, again. Meanwhile, the success of the team might hinge on some of the in-state byproducts of Lake Placid.