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Red Light District takes gold at the Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp

March 30, 2017
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor (aflynn@lakeplacidnews.com) , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Asked if he had any predictions going into the gold-medal game at the Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp Wednesday, March 29 at the Olympic Center, 1980 U.S. hockey team goalie Jim Craig was confident.

"Yeah," he said at the Gold Rush team bench where he assisted head coach Ken Morrow. "We're going to win."

It didn't work out that way. Mike Ramsey's Red Light District remained undefeated and pulled off a 6-1 win to earn a gold medal. Gold Rush got the silver, and Neal "Broten's Bastards" took home the bronze with a 3-2 win over John Harrington's Coneheads.

Article Photos

1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team gold medalist Mark Johnson hits the Olympic Center ice for Mike Ramsey’s Red Light District team Tuesday, March 28 during the Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp in Lake Placid.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

Asked what words of wisdom he passed on to his players before the game, Ramsey said, "I just told them to have fun and feel good about themselves after the game."

For four days straight, campers hugged, fist bumped and smiled at the third annual Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp. With '80s music bouncing around the Olympic Center's red seats, white ice and blue walls, they even found time to play a little hockey.

Actually, they played a lot of hockey.

"We have 31 returning players, 19 third year and 12 second year, and 24 first-year players," said Jeff Potter, director of corporate development and events for the state Olympic Regional Development Authority.

Potter, who returned for his third year as the fantasy camp director, was standing next to the home team's bench after practice Monday, March 27 as he described the blend of veterans and rookies.

"It's nice to see the old faces back, and they're having a good time," Potter said. "They're doing a great job of blending the new campers in and indoctrinating them into camp lifestyle."

From Sunday, March 26 to Thursday, March 30, 55 hockey players from around the world made a pilgrimage to the 1980 Rink in the Herb Brooks Arena, where 20 members of the U.S. hockey team pulled off the sports upset of the 20th century by beating the favored Soviet Union squad 4-3 during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. America had won what became known as the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game on its way to earning a gold medal that year against Finland in the finals.

In 2016, Sports Illustrated placed the Miracle on Ice game at the top of the 100 Greatest Moments in Sports History, a list of moments they called "the most pivotal, influential and memorable of all time." That honor came 17 years after the magazine named the Miracle on Ice the Top Sports Moment of the 20th Century.

Two years after most of the team returned to Lake Placid for the 35th anniversary reunion, 14 of the 19 surviving Olympians participated in this year's fantasy camp to see old friends, make new ones and create a lifetime of memories for dozens of fans.

For the most part, the fantasy camp is treated like a real professional hockey season, only boiled down to three days of intensity.

Members of the 1980 U.S. hockey team conducted their draft Monday, March 27, at the Lake Placid Conference Center, selecting 55 players to fill four teams: Red, White, Blue and Gold. Campers skated on the ice Monday morning so the Olympians could evaluate their skills and make their picks.

"The first round will be the campers, and the second round will be the 1980 players," ORDA Communications Director Jon Lundin explained before the draft. "So not only will these campers play against one another, but a number of the 1980 players will also be on the ice."

The campers ranged in age from 21 to 69. Most live in the United States, but two women traveled from outside the country: Manca Rakovec, 21, of Ljubljana-Sentvid, Slovenia; and Tamsin Wentzel, 48, of Port Elizabeth, EC, South Africa.

With eight players, the state best represented was Florida, and many of them were friends of Glenn Notice, 53, of Parkland, Florida.

"Glenn Notice was a third-year camper, and he just started spreading the word, talking to his buddies and convinced them to come up," Potter said. "We're offering an opportunity and an experience that's second to none, and word spreads and they're having such a good time, they want to bring their friends."

Another three-year veteran from Florida, 47-year-old Robert Corsarie of Naples, sat patiently at his table with five other campers Monday afternoon in the Conference Center waiting for his named to be called. Asked whose team he was hoping to be on this year, he said, "I'm just looking to make the team."

Of course, as a paying camper, there was no doubt Corsarie would be called up to one of the teams. Everyone was named to a team.

"You never know," Corsarie said. "You didn't see me practice. It's a tough crowd out here."

Corsarie, a goalie, was picked eighth overall in the draft and second for Mike Ramsey's Red team. Notice, a forward, was the 13th and final person picked for the Red team.

After the teams were filled, the players renamed them. Ramsey's team became the Red Light District. Neal Broten's Blue team became Broten's Bastards. John Harrington's White team became the Coneheads. And Ken Morrow's Gold team became the Gold Rush.

The 14 Olympians from the 19-member U.S. team who participated in the fantasy camp this year were: Neal Broten, Blue team coach; Dave Christian, Red team player; Jim Craig, Gold team assistant coach; John Harrington, White team coach; Steve Janaszak, Blue team player; Mark Johnson, Red team player; Ken Morrow, Gold team coach; Rob McClanahan, Gold team player; Mike Eruzione, Blue team assistant coach; Mark Pavelich, White team player; Mike Ramsey, Red team coach; Buzz Schneider, White team player; Eric Strobel, assistant commissioner; and Mark Wells, commissioner. In addition, the 1980 team's assistant coach Craig Patrick was participating as the general manager, and the team's athletic trainer Gary Smith helped for his first year.

Teams played three games each, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, before moving on to either the bronze-medal game or the gold-medal game Wednesday afternoon. The Coneheads (1-2) played Broten's Bastards (0-3) in the bronze-medal game, and the Gold Rush (2-1) played the Red Light District (3-0) in the gold-medal game.

This was Jim Craig's first time reuniting with his 1980 teammates at the Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp, and he hopes to come back next year. Personally, he sees these events as a way to reconnect with "the guys." For visitors, it's a way to make memories.

"What Lake Placid does in a lot of different areas, whether you're a triathlete or trying to become an Olympian, it just gives people a chance to fulfill a dream," Craig said.

 
 

 

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