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Mike Eruzione on D&C: Auction of 1980 U.S. Olympic memorabilia was ‘for the right reason’

02.25.13 at 9:57 am ET
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Mike Eruzione checks out some of his 1980 U.S. Olympic memorabilia he auctioned off over the weekend. (Heritage Auctions)

Mike Eruzione, who was in the news this weekend when he auctioned off the jersey he wore during Team USA’s “Miracle on Ice” victory over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics, joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about his reasons for selling the prized uniform.

Eruzione also sold the stick with which he scored the winning goal against the Soviets along with other memorabilia, and the total haul was more than $1.3 million. He said that his cut will be split among his family, a charitable foundation in his hometown of Winthrop and a hockey scholarship he endowed at his alma mater, Boston University.

The inspiration to sell the memorabilia came to Eruzione in 2010. That’s when Paul Henderson auctioned off the jersey he was wearing when he scored the series-winning goal for Canada against the Soviets in the legendary 1972 Summit Series.

“It was actually a few years ago when I heard that Paul Henderson sold his jersey in Canada for like $1.2 million. I said to my wife, I said, ‘Boy, we’d better get the stuff out of the attic. It’s worth some money,’ ” Eruzione said. “And basically I just waited and waited and felt it was the right time. My daughter just had a little baby, so I have a little grandson. … What a great opportunity for me to give my kids some money to take care of maybe their kids’ education.

“I’ve always told everybody I’m doing it for the right reason, not the wrong reason. Things are fine for me financially, things are great. But it was sitting in a trunk in my attic — all of it, everything I had from 1980. And I thought this was the right time.”

Added Eruzione: “The bottom line is I wasn’t going to do anything with the stuff. It was going to sit in my trunk in my attic. You can’t display it somewhere in the home. Because that’s the last thing I need it is my buddies coming over and going, ‘Ah, OK, another picture of you with your Olympic jersey.’ So, it was just logical.”

Eruzione said when he got support from BU coach Jack Parker, “That kind of solidified it for me. I talked to my family, I talked to my friends. Not one person said, ‘Are you crazy? You should hold on to that stuff.’ ”

There are two pieces of memorabilia Eruzione said he will not sell, however.

“The medal is what it’s about. I will never, ever sell the gold medal while I’m alive,” he said. “I will never sell the ring that we got from the Olympic Games while I’m alive.”

Added Eruzione: “Right now, the medal is what it all stood about. We went to Lake Placid with the dream of winning a medal, and we did. We won the ultimate medal. That’s what it means to me. The medal is what the tournament was about — not my pants or my gloves or my stick or my underwear or my sweatsuits or anything like that. That’s just a part of it. The real deal is the medal. That’s something that will always stay with me.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

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