Tuesday, August 5, 2014

1958-59 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Herb Brooks Jersey

Herb Brooks, born on this date in 1937, played for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers from 1955-56 to 1958-59, appearing in 75 games as both a wing and defenseman, totaling 18 goals and 27 assists for 45 points.

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Following his college career, he was famously the last player cut from the gold medal winning 1960 USA Olympic team. After watching the USA win the gold medal on TV, Brooks' father turned and said "Obviously they cut the right guy."

Herb Brooks photo BrooksUSA1960.jpg

Herb Brooks would go on to become a member of both the 1964 and 1968 USA Olympic teams in Innsbruck, Austria and Grenoble, France. In addition, he would play in five World Championships for the USA in 1965, 1967,1968, 1970 and 1971.

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Herb Brooks as captain of the 1968 US Olympic team

Following his playing career, Brooks would coach the University of Minnesota for seven seasons, beginning in 1972, leading the Gophers to WCHA championships in 1974 and 1975 and capturing the national championship three times, in 1974, 1976 and 1979. His final collegiate coaching record was 175-101-20.

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Brooks between the benches for the Gophers at their quirky
old Mariucci Arena

After coaching Team USA at the 1979 World Championships, he was named general manager and head coach of the 1980 Olympic hockey team, earning a permanent place in history after guiding the team to the famous "Miracle on Ice", where he led a team of college players to a 4-3 victory over the heavily favored Soviet Union and then securing the gold medal versus Finland with a third period come-from-behind victory two days later.

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Brooks as coach of the 1980 US Olympic team

After coaching in Switzerland for a year, Brooks would return to coach the New York Rangers for four seasons, being named The Sporting News Coach of the Year in 1981-82, before return to the college ranks for a year at St. Cloud State before coaching the Minnesota North Stars for a year. He later coached both the New Jersey Devils in 1992-93 and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1999-2000. His final NHL record was 219-221-66.

Herb Brooks photo BrooksNorthStarscoach.jpg
Back in Minnesota behind the bench for the North Stars where he would be reunited with Neal Broten (left) who he coached to an NCAA title with the Gophers and a gold medal in 1980

In between coaching the Devils and Penguins, he also coached Team France at the 1998 Olympics. In 2002 in Salt Lake City, Brooks would once again lead Team USA, making it all the way to the finals and winning a silver medal.

Herb Brooks photo Brooks2002coach.jpg
In 2002 Brooks once again led the US to an Olympic medal

He would be awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to American hockey in 1980 as part of Team USA and would win the award again as an individual in 2002. He was also inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990, the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.

A statue of Brooks stands outside the River Centre in St. Paul, which is part of the complex that includes the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild.

Herb Brooks photo Brooksstatue.jpg

Today's featured jersey is a 1958-59 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Herb Brooks jersey. This is a very rare jersey, as it was purchased as a group order of custom made jerseys for members of a Golden Gophers online forum and was never available through any online or retail stores. That changed with the creation of VintageMinnesotaHockey.com, who now offers anyone a chance to own this beautiful jersey from "America's Coach".

It's customized with the #5 that Brooks wore his senior season with the Gophers and also sports the Goldy Gopher patch on the left sleeve. It also has the ornate Minnesota Centennial patch on the upper left chest to finish off the look. 

Minnesota Gophers 1959-60 jersey photo MinnesotaGophers1959-60F.jpg
Minnesota Gophers 1959-60 jersey photo MinnesotaGophers1959-60B.jpg

The "Miracle on Ice" was named the Top International Hockey Story of the Century by the International Ice Hockey Federation as part of their centennial celebrations and immortalized in the 2004 film "Miracle".

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