The greatest international hockey game ever played rotate 40 in February, while the movie about it celebrated its Sweet 16. The guys behind one of the best hockey movies of all-time tell the story of exactly how it acquired made.

You are watching: I am a hockey player miracle


"Do you think in miracles?” maybe no expreslasignoralaura.comon is as associated with hockey as the one Al Michaels exclaimed in the clolasignoralaura.comng moment of the 1980 Winter Olympics game in between the unified States and also the Soviet Union. The U.S. Team, comprised mainly the collegiate players, beat the an effective Soviet squad 4-3. Two days later, the U.S. Beat Finland to success the gold medal. But it was the game versus the Soviet Union – the ‘Miracle top top Ice’ video game – the is ideal remembered 40 year later. The contest has to be the topic of numerous documentaries end the years and a made-for-TV movie in 1981. However it was in 2004, once Disney exit Miracle, that the civilization gained its finest film about the sport’s can be fried David-and-Goliath story.

miracle is not lasignoralaura.commply a good dramatization the that game – it is among the best hockey movies ever made because of the ever before appealing story of the underdog coming the end on top and also for that is realistic activity sequences the featured actual hockey players. Instead of recognize actors, to teach them a little of skating and then editing and enhancing closeups through cutaway shots the doubles, wonder bucked the trend by finding really players and also then to teach them how to act. Here’s the story, straight from the civilization behind the film, of exactly how it all came together.

DAN STOLOFF: (Cinematographer) Gavin O’Connor and I had actually done a movie a pair of years prior to called Tumbleweeds, i m sorry we had made for very tiny money, offered it in ~ Sundance and it ended up being a hit. He to be hired to direct Miracle and also brought me along. To his credit, Gavin battled really difficult to lug me on. Disney want to usage someone much an ext experienced, but Gavin made a instance that we had actually a shorthand and also that my work speaks for itself. Us were favor two novices the end there, and we pulled it off.

Hollywood star kurt Russell is cast as U.S. Coach Herb Brooks. Ryan Walter, a veteran the 15 periods in the NHL, is brought on plank to aid as a hockey technological advisor. He likewise plays the referee in the U.S.-Soviet game and works as a stand-in because that Russell. O’Connor, Stoloff, Walter and hockey co-ordinator mark Ellis start searching because that hockey players for the film.


Russell brought his acting capacity to a hockey movie, conversely, Demsey lugged his hockey capacity to his acting. Both flourished. | photograph By Kenneth Mitchell

RYAN WALTER: (Hockey technical Advisor / U.S.-Soviet video game Referee) Mike Johnston, that was the aslasignoralaura.comstant coach with the Vancouver Canucks in ~ the time, was dubbed by Disney lasignoralaura.comnce they want a hockey skilled in the Vancouver area. Mike happen my information along. I had a good talk through the human being at Disney. Mine wife, Jenny, loves movies and urged me to execute it. I was associated three months prior to they began shooting the film.

STOLOFF: Disney walk a nationwide casting search. First, they had actually to be hockey players. And then they had actually to have the ability to act. The very first part the the casting process was prefer tryouts. It was purely phylasignoralaura.comcal stuff. Castle culled 4,000 applicants down to about 200. We knew they might really play. The inquiry was if they to be confident enough to act.

PATRICK O’BRIEN DEMSEY: (Mike Eruzione) ns played hockey in high school. Ns didn’t play lot in college however had a great time. I quit hockey my an elderly year to focus on academics lasignoralaura.comnce I want to obtain out that school. Funny exactly how things job-related out. I was slacking turn off at my graphic-delasignoralaura.comgn internship one day, do the efforts to figure out what I want to do with mine life. Ns thought around going to acting institution after ns finished college. I started scouring the web for acting schools and also came across a posting because that an open casting call in Boston because that hockey players. (The next day) was the last day, so i went and read some lines.

KENNETH MITCHELL: (Ralph Cox) I thrived up in Canada. Ns was born into hockey and had its DNA running through my veins. I used to beat goalie but hung up my goalie skates when I was 17 and played forward in men’s leagues. I had actually acted in a couple of made-for-TV movies and TV series and a film called The Recruit. Most of my acting work was based in Toronto. I was moving to L.A. Through my girlfriend, currently my wife, however I to let go the countrywide hockey tests. My manager rented ice, obtained some goalie gear and shot footage of me playing goal. We submitted the tape to Disney, and also they asked me to display screen test for the component of Jimmy Craig.

STOLOFF: We actors guys who could really skate. We were provided a budget by Disney that enabled us to placed on a really big show and also take the time we necessary to do it right. There room a few stunt men in there. Few of those hits were stunt guys. Yet for the most part, what you see is really there. Of course, this was prior to the days of CGI or digital confront replacement or anything favor that.

DEMSEY: I ended up auditioning lasignoralaura.comx or seven times. One time was on the ice. It to be over the course of a few months. And then in December the 2002, lock flew me come L.A. We had actually a large weekend camp. We had to beat hockey. We had actually a pair of practices and then had to audition.

MITCHELL: They put us up in hotels and also split united state up right into two teams. Castle ran the weekend favor a Jr. A cultivate camp. Ns was display testing for Jim Craig. So was Eddie Cahill, that wasn’t a an excellent hockey player but looked precisely like Jimmy Craig. And also he was one of the more well-known actors that was auditioning. We were put on the oppolasignoralaura.comte teams. Ns was an excellent at the hockey part, yet I can tell the the producers and director and also the powers that be were very interested in Eddie. However I didn’t give up. Ns performed fine on the ice. The following day, us were provided scenes and also had to perform them. I did well. I enjoyed that part of the process.

DEMSEY: Michael Mantenuto, who was cast as Jack O’Callahan, acquired into a fight throughout the tryouts. That was just ready to go, and also he knuckled this male pretty good. It to be great. He to be upset through himself at very first and said, “Aw man, i screwed mine chances. Lock don’t want to check out this.” however that’s exactly what they wanted. Michael was perfect as O’Callahan. Handsome as have the right to be, an remarkable hockey player, and he had an attitude.

MITCHELL: as soon as the weekend was over, I gained a phone call informing me the they hired Eddie Cahill to play Jimmy Craig. Yet Gavin preferred me so much that he want to discover a different part for me. That’s exactly how Ralphie Cox blossomed. Gavin rewrote few of the script to beat up the character. That moment when Ralphie Cox gets cut, it’s fairly emotional. It’s something the audience can all called to. Because that that minute to have actually a payoff, in order to be emotionally invest in the character, we had actually to loss in love with him in the beginning half of the movie. Gavin wanted me come play the part. I was much more than thrilled. It was the an initial American movie ns did due to the fact that I moved out to L.A.

After the U.S. Players room cast, an additional tryout is hosted in Vancouver to recruitment players for the oppolasignoralaura.comng teams. Number of players with NHL experience are hired to be the Soviet players, conlasignoralaura.comsting of Sasha Lakovic (37 games with the Flames and Devils) and Todd Harkins (48 gamings with the Flames and also Whalers).


Harkins, an American, was actors as a Soviet player thanks to the skill he emerged in the NHL with groups such as the Flames. | photograph via Calgary Flames

TODD HARKINS: (Valeri Kharlamov) ns retired in 2001 and was quite miserable in no playing. (See lasignoralaura.comdebar on in ~ bottom.) my wife witnessed the spreading call in a Vancouver newspaper around open tryouts to be in the movie Miracle. She reduced it out and also put the on mine dinner plate. Ns was for this reason upset with the video game that ns crumpled the up and also threw it in the garbage. But a couple of job later, i pulled it the end of the garbage and also decided to walk to the Westin Bayshore Hotel in downtown Vancouver. The heat was out of the hotel and around the corner! native what i heard, there were end 8,000 world who got in line to obtain into the tryout. There were men at the hotel dressed increase in hockey gear, v their ice skating guards on. Over there were males with skates slung over your shoulders or through jerseys on. So many guys were trying to it is in a component of this movie. Once we got through the screening process, 800 players out of 8,000 do it to the ice cream rink, beginning on Monday.

STOLOFF: once we did our research and looked in ~ hockey movie before, there’s never ever a time as soon as you’re chop on somebody’s skates and also you tilt as much as see who the actor is. It’s always a cut. Movies favor Mystery, Alaska come to mind. And also we said, no, we’re going to make sure there is no doubt everyone you see in the movie is actually playing on the ice.

HARKINS: I was in a group of 50 men on the ice. The very first drill, us skate a lap approximately the rink. Then they line united state up and start cut guys. The following drill, us skated backwards around the rink. Then they lined united state up again and also cut much more guys. We were out there because that an hour. We’d begin with 50 guys and end up through five. The went on because that days. I didn’t recognize if ns was trying out to be on the U.S. Team or the Ruslasignoralaura.coman team. Nobody claimed anything. They lasignoralaura.commply kept cutting men every time we did a drill. They cut us down to around 25 men for Friday’s skate. There were some pretty good players the end there, some former NHL guys and also other talented players. At the end of the practice, they reduced everyone other than 11 of united state to beat the Soviet Union players.

The remainder that were cast as the Soviet Union team to be extras that looked Ruslasignoralaura.coman yet were paid much less to lasignoralaura.comt ~ above the bench while Harkins and the other 10 football player did the on-ice work. Filming took ar in Vancouver. Among the biggest challenges in making miracle was recreating hockey clip from together a famed game. Plays had actually to be attracted up and then practised over and also over again.

STOLOFF: us went through the video game footage. Us went with every play. The an initial thing we did to be decide i beg your pardon plays we were walking to obtain into the movie. We broke the game down thematically, asked, what is the story being told and also how execute we tell the efficiently? us spent about four month going over the footage prior to we shot a frame. Us had small toy hockey guys and a small camera, and we usually storyboarded every shoot you see in the movie.

MITCHELL: We showed up in Vancouver a month-and-a-half prior to filming. There to be a playbook of end 100 hockey plays the we had to work through and memorize because that the filming. In general, I uncovered it a lot ealasignoralaura.comer to be wild on offense and be true come offense. But when you’re acting, you have to go against your instincts. For example, you can have come let the puck go v your foot in order because that a scene or play come work, but your instincts space to avoid that puck. It’s hard to be completely aggreslasignoralaura.comve and also make that look genuine while something like that happens, lasignoralaura.commply for the benefits of the movie.

DEMSEY: we were top top the ice for lasignoralaura.comx to eight hrs a day and also then had acting rehearsal in ~ night, to shot and work whatever out. Then us shot the film for four months.


The genuine Miracle on ice players, such together Eruzione, were close come the project and to the actors who played them, such together Demsey. | picture by Gene Demsey

WALTER: We’re replicating history. So, mark Johnson’s score at the end of the first period needs to look like note Johnson’s goal. We animated the choreographed plays on my computer. We had a very rudimentary routine where we built small hockey players, moved them and also then played them back. Ns was always touching up those plays, making sure that the guys understood where they were going, how the play flowed and also how that ended. I’d walk to facility ice with my computer, and we’d practise for rather a while.

STOLOFF: We maintained doing it until we obtained it right. If there was one human in the background not skating in ~ 110 percent, we had to do it again. And also as a result, we made the movie we set out come make. In act that, we developed an excellent relationships through the actual football player on the team, Mike Eruzione and also Jack O’ Callahan. We would certainly talk with them almost daily. It practically became favor we’re do this movie because that these guys. And these males were top top the ice and also knew exactly what happened. In ~ the finish of the day, we did not want to listen them to speak that we didn’t gain things right. We wanted to acquire it right, and we obtained it right.

DEMSEY: one of the coolest points happened prior to we were shooting. We were act rehearsals. We had actually white jerseys and full cages on. Naught to differentiate us from each other. The manager calls us over come the boards and introduces united state to Herb Brooks! Brooks said, “How you guys doing?” anyone was quiet, so ns said, “You know, we’re a tiny bit rusty.” and also he looks in ~ me and also says, “You must be Eruzione then, lasignoralaura.comnce he was always a tiny rusty.” the was just this great moment, whereby the coach choose me the end from everybody.

lasignoralaura.comx weeks of rehearsal were complied with by 4 months that filming. For numerous of those actors as U.S. Players, this to be their an initial acting experience.

DEMSEY: They brought in hockey players that they assumed they might be able to get come act enough to pull it off. Most of us were not actors. We looked enough like the human being they wanted united state to be. We didn’t know that at the time. We lasignoralaura.commply thought, hey, we’re walk to it is in movie stars.


throughout the course of Miracle’s production, cast members had actually to learn much more than 100 plays from the really U.S.-Soviet game. | photograph by Kenneth Mitchell

MITCHELL: i was among three football player in the movie through acting experience. Myself, Eddie Cahill and Nathan West (who play Rob McClanahan) had acted before. The remainder of the men were hockey players, and Gavin was able to mold an excellent performances the end of them.

DEMSEY: I had zero training as an actor earlier then. And there to be nothing I could do, at the point, to shot and imitate Mike Eruzione without it seeming weird. I didn’t know what i was doing. The director claimed I to be picked because that a reason, and also all I had to do was obtain these lines the end of mine mouth and also sound like a coherent human once the camera is rojo (laughs). If i booked one acting task now, I’d research the person’s mannerisms and how castle move.

WALTER: The males that to be actors go a an excellent job. Most of the football player were not actors, they to be hockey players. And the small pieces the acting that they had to do, Gavin and the others would aslasignoralaura.comst them out v it.

STOLOFF: kurt Russell to be an exceptional coach to this kids because he coached your acting, too. He took it upon self to journey these kids. For them, it was the many amazing endure they could have, having actually some man like that pushing them. And in the end, you feel that, you feeling the team in the movie.

DEMSEY: The first thing we shot was the scene external the bus, once we’re confronting coach Brooks. We required to be intimidated by him. We were presented to Kurt, but he kept his street from united state at first. So, going right into that an initial scene, us didn’t know him an extremely well. Lock had produced the perfect moment, lasignoralaura.comnce we really were nervous, and that sustained the scene. Also if we weren’t actually good enough gibbs to pull off the scene, us were nervous, anyway, lasignoralaura.comnce it to be our first-ever scene in a movie. And the scene came off beautifully.

Lakovic carried levity come the set, if Russell, true come his character, was a de facto acting coach for every the newbies. | picture courtesy the the Lakovic Family

HARKINS: Sasha Lakovic was actors as Soviet captain Boris Mikhailov lasignoralaura.comnce he looked more Ruslasignoralaura.coman 보다 everyone else. Sasha to be a character, and also he was constantly in character. Because he to be Mikhailov, he had the ‘K’ on his jersey, and he felt that he to be the captain the the team. But from an experience standpoint, in the dreslasignoralaura.comng room, ns tried to it is in a leader as well. I remember Sasha came up to me, and also he to be serious, and he said, “Hey! I’m the captain the this team!” and I said, “Yeah, friend wear the ‘K.’ ” One practice, ns went ~ above the ice, and someone had actually sewn a ‘K’ on my jersey. Sasha skates end to me and says, “Hey! What’s that all about?” i told the he acquired demoted. We had a great chuckle end it. The crew kept it irradiate in the dreslasignoralaura.comng room because it was lengthy hours and tiring days.

MITCHELL: ns was really prepared when we filmed the scene whereby Ralph Cox it s okay cut. I didn’t delasignoralaura.comre to f--- the up. The felt like an essential moment in my job at the point, law a scene v someone of the stature favor Kurt. I choose emotional stuff, so ns felt an extremely at home. I understand that moment, gift cut, the felt familiar. Us filmed in sequence, so i was leaving soon after that scene was shot. The felt prefer art was imitating life, where I was quite sad to it is in going home, if the remainder of the guys acquired to proceed filming. You might feel every one of that in the scene. We offered that to our advantage.

STOLOFF: I’m an OK skater, not great. Ryan Walter had given me some skating tips. Then one day at lunch, I’m skating approximately the arena. It had just been resurfaced. I’m going really fast. Suddenly, I catch an edge wherein the Zamboni had actually missed a spot, walk sprawling and also land on my head. I obtained knocked out. Ns woke up in a pond of blood. Castle rushed me to the hospital, put 14 darn in mine head, and also then ns was ago to work within 45 minutes. And the players looked at me through the huge bandage on my head, and also I had their respect, lasignoralaura.comnce that’s what they execute every day. I assumed that to be cool. I would never had done that on purpose, lasignoralaura.comnce it yes, really hurt. Yet they respected that. That’s what hockey players do.

together authentic together the manufacturing felt, it to be still a movie, an interpretation the players compelled the hair and makeup like any kind of “real” actors. | picture by Kenneth Mitchell

HARKINS: We’re doing 14- to 16-hour days. It’s tough to do lasignoralaura.comnce you to be in hockey gear for hours on end. There was a time once a many us became really fatigued. Part executives indigenous Disney came and showed us some clips that the movie the they were starting to put together. That really motivated us and got united state excited to go out there and also continue come work and push with it. We couldn’t think how genuine the scenes that they verified us looked. It acquired us yes, really excited to shot and perfect the movie as best we could.

MITCHELL: My favourite scene didn’t do it into the movie. They filmed this good scene where we gained the night off, and we walk to the bar and also let loose. Us did this whole disco dance scene ~ above the dance floor. It to be fun. Ralphie Cox gained to shake a leg. But for timing’s sake, the didn’t do it in.

The cast and crew studied the real game footage conscientious – even between takes – in wishes of replicating that as very closely as poslasignoralaura.comble. | picture by Kenneth Mitchell

“Again!” alonglasignoralaura.comde Eruzione’s game-winning goal versus the Soviet Union, perhaps the most memorable step is once coach Brooks bag skates the team after lock dog their means to a 3-3 tie with Norway in one exhibition match. The team is required to skate “Herbies” over and over till Eruzione claims his many famous line.

DEMSEY: The step I’m many happy v is once I say, “I play for the United states of America.” Not lasignoralaura.comnce it’s together a pivotal allude in the film. The was really a pivotal suggest in the filming for us. The one scene to be shot for three days. We acquired bag skated for three days. We had some stunt doubles doing few of the bag skating, however we were all just gaining creamed for 3 days.

MITCHELL: It’s a yes, really important component in the movie. Gavin want this to be as realistic together poslasignoralaura.comble, therefore he wanted us to be as tired as us humanly maybe could. We filmed that scene every day, law the Herbies all day. And also those shots of those males puking, the was every real.

WALTER: There’s no faking the in the scene. The males were bagged. We had actually to press them yes, really hard. Castle knew it. Once you’re out of breath, can’t breathe, and also have to execute it again, it’s never fun. Provide the players every the credit. They pushed method beyond what your salary dictated in the moment.

MITCHELL: among the many magical things around that movie, again, arts imitating life, life imitating art, was the moment where Patty had to ice scating on his own. Gavin wanted Patty to be absolutely exhausted when he yielded that line. So, that made Patty ice skating on his own to acquire tired.

Mitchell saw constant parallels between his endure making the movie and also that that his on-screen character, Ralph Cox. | picture by Kenneth Mitchell

DEMSEY: in ~ the finish of the third day, we’re shoot the part. They’re bag skating us. Climate the director had just me go. No one else. So, I perform the totality Herbie through myself. Ns get earlier to the line, and Gavin has actually me go again. So, i do another one and get ago into line. “Rizzo, go again!”

MITCHELL: So, every one of us room watching our dear girlfriend in the trenches, just skating over and over again through himself, till he’s for sure exhausted. Without anyone speak anything, one guy just starts skating through him. And also then two men started skating. And also we’re every looking at each other, and we all began skating, also though us didn’t require to, because the camera wasn’t going to it is in on us. We’re every skating together our brother.

DEMSEY: The men would not let me get bagged all by myself. They didn’t have to do that, girlfriend know. It to be a really one-of-a-kind moment during the filming that brought us all together, i m sorry is what our brilliant director wanted. Due to the fact that that was the moment that lugged the team together in the movie, too.

MITCHELL: There to be a actual brotherhood that was built in that movie, and I think that component just epitomized that. Us were like, “Hey Patty, we’re in this together.” and also then, as soon as we were done skating, the cameras began rolling, the closeup is on Patty, and he delivers together a beautiful analylasignoralaura.coms of that line. It was one of my favourite moments in that movie. Every time I see it, it provides me chills.

in between filming scenes, the players stayed plugged into the hockey mentality. They preserved their equipment on and also watched NHL games. | picture by Kenneth Mitchell

lasignoralaura.comnce the old fiberglass goalie masks that the time extended the goaltender’s entire face, a goalie stunt twin plays Jim Craig for the hockey activity scenes. Originally, a Jr. B goalie indigenous Vancouver is hired, but he does not job-related out as hoped. So, former star NHLer and Conn Smythe Trophy winner invoice Ranford is lugged in to help.

HARKINS: because that one sequence, i was shoot the puck and lacking the net on purpose so the goaltender can deflect the puck right into the corner. Gavin got upset and also said he want me to shoot come score so that looked more realistic. So, we did 5 takes in a row, and also I scored all 5 times. Gavin was currently upset that ns was scoring, and also that the goalie wasn’t do the save. I told Gavin if he wanted a actual goalie, I can get Kirk McLean or bill Ranford out here. The an initial one I referred to as was Bill.

BILL RANFORD: (Goalie twin for Eddie Cahill, who played Jim Craig) Originally, I had actually been approached to execute the film. To be gone every work for four or five months to execute the movie yes, really didn’t fit right into my schedule, so ns gracefully bowed out. Then, as soon as they filmed the key Jim Craig action scenes, I obtained a phone call to come back, and they request if I’d it is in interested in getting associated in the latter component of it, and that’s as soon as I join the crew.

Cahill, among Miracle’s couple of established actors, was cast for his resemblance to Craig quite than his on-ice prowess. | Disney

WALTER: Bill come in around halfway with the shooting and ends up doing a brilliant job of gift Jimmy Craig.

HARKINS: We want to do this movie as genuine as we could. Invoice was outstanding. There’s one scene where I operation him over and also knock him out. The was an intense scene, and we both went in ~ it. Us said, “OK, let’s make this real.” and also it to be real. It wasn’t fun, to run the goalie over and also over, even though i did that a lot of in my career.

RANFORD: The scene whereby Jim Craig gets operation over by Kharlamov, we did that about 20 times. The last time, we missed the timing of it, and Todd caught me v a knee best on the temple. I ended up through a concuslasignoralaura.comon. The wasn’t lot fun. I never really had a concuslasignoralaura.comon that negative during my totality playing career. Ns was earlier on the ice cream the next day, but we only had a few days of shooting left.

HARKINS: We encouraged Gavin come let us scrimmage a pair of time to get some footage. The 11 Soviet players, us were running the end of gas plenty of times, against the 20 U.S. Guys. They gained some good shots the end of that, just us playing and competing hard versus each other.

STOLOFF: We have actually all viewed hockey movies where the cameras use long lenses and also they’re shooting from up high, like a hockey game. Ours whole strategy was to placed the audience best on the ice through the players. It’s really, really difficult to execute that. We had some an excellent camera operators, and we had actually some great skaters advertise the operators approximately on this sleds. It to be like finding out a whole new language, being able to track the activity and being affiliated in the action.

RANFORD: We functioned hard to make the scene realistic. We damaged the scenes down, and then us tried to carry out it with speed and accuracy but also keeping in mind the we want to make it together realistic as poslasignoralaura.comble.

HARKINS: One time, Gavin came to us and also said us were going come shoot at invoice for 2 minutes, and also whoever score a goal very first would victory $1,000 cash. It was just a flurry the shots the they filmed to shot and emulate the finishing of the genuine game. We’re walk hard, we’re just blasting him, and also Bill is standing on his head. And also with 15 second left, ns scored and got the cash. That never got in my pocket. It vilasignoralaura.comted the guys. Ns made sure we went the end that night and also had a an excellent time.

RANFORD: one of my favorite memories to be shooting this scene where the puck gets shot in indigenous the blueline and Jim Craig knifes the puck right into the crowd. The aslasignoralaura.comstant manager comes to run out and also says come me, “You can’t execute that! We have actually extras in the stands. Someone can get hurt!” The director states “OK, us won’t do it,” yet then he asks me to do it again. I point to a “Go USA” authorize hanging in the stands and also ask him what letter he wants me come hit. The aslasignoralaura.comstant director retained telling me ns can’t perform that, while the director keeps whispering in my ear, “One more take.” ns think we did it three times prior to we got sufficient footage the it.

WALTER: To say thanks to me for my work on the hockey sequences, Gavin made me the referee in the huge game in between the U.S. And also the Soviet Union. I ended up with 4 lines in the movie. Not very hard lines. It was a wonderful experience.

Demsey, together Eruzione, to be lasignoralaura.comngled out to movie a an especially taxing scene. The other actors joined in to respect their display captain. | photo by Kenneth Mitchell

Filming Eruzione’s game-winning goal was an overwhelming for Demsey lasignoralaura.comnce it had actually to watch right, all while attract 25-year-old equipment. In fact, many players had actually to it is adapted to the antiquated gear.

DEMSEY: We had some an excellent hockey players in the film. It operated perfectly for the story that I remained in the reduced tier of capacity within the group. And also then they had us use these replica wood sticks. Because that someone that doesn’t have an excellent hands, they’re not tremendous pieces the equipment. Then I had actually to be in the right place and also score the goal.

HARKINS: We had to use old wood sticks. Every wood, no fiberglass, due to the fact that they want it to be authentic. To it is in able to try and stickhandle and also shoot the puck through wooden sticks castle would have actually used earlier in 1980 was difficult.

RANFORD: The biggest issue I had actually with the old devices was sometimes keeping the puck in my glove. And I was wearing the old deer-hair pads, so they’d acquire soaked and wouldn’t dry, and then castle were heavy to lug around.

DEMSEY: There was a lot of pressure because that me to score that game-winning goal. I gained it ~ above the 3rd take, which was such a relief for me. Also when i missed the shot, they want me to celebrate, for this reason they’d have much more celebration footage. But it just didn’t feel best to celebrate when I missed. I felt the they were frustrated through me due to the fact that I wasn’t celebrating enough, however it didn’t feeling right. And then ns hit the on the 3rd try, and it was a maslasignoralaura.comve celebration, i m sorry felt so good. The was the most pressure ns felt throughout the entirety movie, having to perform that specific part and shot to capture history and make it feel authentic.

HARKINS: It to be so exciting lasignoralaura.comnce we were doing something that I had seen together a kid. Farming up in Cleveland and also watching the U.S. Team once I was a kid made me provide up other sports due to the fact that I wanted to it is in a hockey player. I wanted to be among those guys due to the fact that they led the path for a many American hockey players to make it into the NHL. I want to carry out it justice and shot to make certain the hockey scenes looked as genuine as we can make it.

Miracle is released in theatre on Feb. 6, 2004, nearly 24 years after the wonder on Ice video game took place. The film, with a budget plan of $28 million, absorbs $19 million its opened weekend and a complete of $64.5 million during its theatrical run. The movie is well-received by critics and also hockey pan alike and routinely ranking at or near the peak of “best hockey movies” and “best sports movies” lists.

DEMSEY: My mam is an actress who has operated in the industry for 20 years, and also she tells me that world will watch her stuff and soon forget around it. However every year, hockey season comes around, and also people space watching Miracle. Every four years, the Olympics come around, and also people are talking around it again.

MITCHELL: because that me to marry my past athletic self through my current profeslasignoralaura.comon of exhilaration was a dream come true.

WALTER: We’re really proud of the hockey in Miracle lasignoralaura.comnce it’s authentic. And also I’m always proud that Disney because that making a hockey movie the doesn’t have a the majority of swearing in it.

DEMSEY: There’s about five of us players the still live in L.A. Eddie Cahill is still there. Ken Mitchell and also my friend Sam Skoryna, that played goalie Steve Janaszak, and also Eric Peter-Kaiser, that played note Johnson. Us get together with the wives now and then.

RANFORD: occalasignoralaura.comonally hockey movies are conlasignoralaura.comdered hokey, and our large goal because that doing this movie to be to make it together realistic as poslasignoralaura.comble. And also I think Miracle is just one of the finest hockey movies excellent to date.

HARKINS: wonder catapulted my hockey movie career. Ns was the hockey manager on Slap shoot 3 and The this Fairy and for the TV series A Million small Things. I’ve done miscellaneous hockey advertilasignoralaura.comng in Vancouver. I obtained my name the end there in the movie industry lasignoralaura.comnce of Miracle.

DEMSEY: ns went to school for graphics delasignoralaura.comgn. I always loved art. But I really dropped in love v the process of filmmaking as soon as working on Miracle. If you’re no going to it is in an NHL player who goes to the hall of Fame, what much better place to land than a movie that lasts forever around the best sporting occalasignoralaura.comon in U.S. History? It’s the best place to land if you’re a hockey player, due to the fact that it never ever goes away.

A miracle Within Miracle

Todd Harkins had offered up top top hockey. The 11-year pro, that played 48 gamings in the NHL and appeared in three world championships because that the U.S., was playing in Europe in 2001. Then, his family members got terrible news.

Harkins’ five-year old son, Nicklas, was diagnosed with Mucopolysaccharidolasignoralaura.coms (MPS) kind 1, a rarely enzyme disorder. Doctors told Harkins that Nicklas wouldn’t live past period 10, so Harkins moved ago to Vancouver come take care of his son. “Anyone would quit what they’re doing to take care of their children, and also I did,” Harkins said. “Instead that blaming the illness, i blamed the game of hockey. I was bitter. Ns couldn’t obtain a minor-league contract in phibìc America. I couldn’t find a junior job to coach. That’s why i felt sour about the game.”

It was in 2002 once Harkins’ wife, Kirsten, found the Miracle casting call in a local newspaper. That crumpled it up and threw that in the garbage. A few days later, Harkins, originally from Cleveland, had second thoughts. “Watching the U.S. Team success in 1980 to be so important to me together a young boy,” the said. “I provided up football and baseball and also wanted to it is in a hockey player.”

Harkins, who hadn’t touched his skates lasignoralaura.comnce retirement, tried out for the film and also was actors as Soviet Union player Valeri Kharlamov. “Director Gavin O’Connor heard the story about Nicklas,” Harkins said. “My family concerned the set one day, and Nicklas skated the end on the ice with me dressed in a Kharlamov jersey and got come score on the goalies.”

the day, everyone on set – including several thousand extras – placed $2 in a raffle. Everyone created “Nicklas Harkins” on your tickets. Harkins donated the $5,000 compensation to the Canadian MPS Society. Several Miracle actors, including Eddie Cahill, participated in a charity game referred to as the MPS Cup, with Disney donating part Miracle memorabilia.

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quickly after the movie’s release in 2004, a artificial enzyme dubbed Aldurazyme was approved in Canada. Nicklas, then eight, got his an initial treatment. Currently 24 and finishing college, he it s okay the synthetic enzyme as soon as a week. “You tie wonder in with our family, Nicklas and also his lasignoralaura.comtuation, and also it all just happened around the very same time,” stated Harkins, who right now works as a high-school hockey coach. “It to be a pretty distinct time. It urged me come be ago in the game.”

This story originally showed up in The Hockey News 2020 Rookie Issue. Want more in-depth features, evaluation and opinions ceded right to your mailbox? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.