|Hockey Hall of Fame, 2006|
|Born||August 5, 1937|
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||August 11, 2003 (aged 66)|
near Forest Lake, Minnesota, U.S.
|Previous team(s)||New York Rangers|
Minnesota North Stars
New Jersey Devils
|Years as a coach||1970-2002|
|Years as an NHL coach||1981-2000|
|Representing the USA|
Herbert Paul Brooks Jr. (August 5, 1937 - August 11, 2003) was an American ice hockey player and coach. His most notable achievement came in 1980 as head coach of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic team at Lake Placid. At the Games, Brooks's American team upset the heavily favored Soviet team in a match that came to be known as the "Miracle on Ice."
Brooks coached multiple National Hockey League (NHL) teams, as well as the French team at the 1998 Winter Olympics. He ultimately returned to coach the U.S. men's team to a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Brooks was killed in a 2003 car accident. At the time of his death, he was the director of player personnel for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.
Brooks continued his ice hockey career with the University of Minnesota Gophers from 1955 to 1959. He was a member of the 1960 Olympic team, only to become the last cut the week before the Games started. Three weeks later, Brooks sat at home with his father and watched the team he almost made win gold in Squaw Valley. Afterwards, Brooks went up to the coach, Jack Riley, and said, "Well, you must have made the right decision--you won". This humbling moment served as further motivation for Brooks, an already self-driven person.
After retiring as a player, Brooks became a coach, notably leading his alma mater, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, to three NCAA championship titles in 1974, 1976, and 1979. Brooks finished his collegiate coaching with a record of 175 wins, 101 losses, and 20 ties.
Soon after Minnesota won its third college championship, he was hired to coach the 1980 Olympic team. Hand-picking his team, he named several of his Minnesota players to the team, as well as several from their rivals, Boston University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To compete with the Soviet Union team specifically, Brooks developed a hybrid of the rugged, physical North American style and the faster European style, which emphasized creativity and teamwork. He also stressed peak conditioning, believing that one of the reasons the Soviet team had dominated international competition was that many of their opponents were exhausted by the third period.
After his team's Olympic gold medal win, Brooks moved to Switzerland to coach HC Davos in the National League A. However he resigned from this position in January 1981, only six months after being hired, with the team having a poor record and Brooks facing criticism for what were described as "rough practices". From 1981 to 1985, he coached in the National Hockey League for the New York Rangers, where he became the first American-born coach in Rangers' team history to win 100 games. After a brief stop at then-NCAA Division III St. Cloud State University, he returned to the NHL to coach the Minnesota North Stars (from 1987 to 1988), New Jersey Devils (1992-93), and Pittsburgh Penguins (1999-2000). He was a long-time scout for the Penguins from the mid-1990s, and held the role of Director of Player Personnel from 2002 to the day of his death. His hiring by the North Stars in 1987 was the last time a college coach was selected to coach an NHL team until North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol was tapped to coach the Philadelphia Flyers in May 2015.
Brooks also coached two more Olympic team teams: Team France at the 1998 in Nagano, and the U.S. hockey team again at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The 2002 team defeated the Russians in the semi-finals en route to a silver, losing in the gold medal game to Canada. The U.S. win over Russia came exactly 22 years to the day after the famous 'Miracle on Ice' game.
Brooks was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990, and the International Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999. He was honored posthumously with the Wayne Gretzky International Award in 2004, and inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
On January 13, 2000, Brooks confronted Colorado Avalanche announcer John Kelly for suggesting that Matthew Barnaby faked an injury after being hit by Alexei Gusarov with 27 seconds left. He was suspended two games for that confrontation on January 18, having been suspended indefinitely since January 15. The night before Brooks got suspended, Gusarov was suspended two games for the hit.
On the afternoon of August 11, 2003, six days after his 66th birthday, Brooks died in a single-car accident on Interstate 35 near Forest Lake, Minnesota. It is believed that he fell asleep behind the wheel before the accident, and neither drugs nor alcohol were responsible. Brooks was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash, and according to the Minnesota State Patrol, it is likely he would have survived the crash if he had been.
George Nagobads was the team physician when Brooks coached the US men's national team and Minnesota Golden Gophers men's ice hockey, and described Brooks by saying, "I really appreciated the way Herbie always treated the players, and for me, he was just like my son".
In 2004, Disney released a film about the 1980 Olympic team called Miracle featuring Kurt Russell playing the part of Brooks. (Karl Malden had previously played Brooks in a 1981 television film called Miracle on Ice.) Brooks served as a consultant for the Disney film during principal photography, which was completed shortly before his death. At the end of the movie there is a dedication to Brooks. It states, "He never saw it. He lived it."
On the 25th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, the Olympic ice arena in Lake Placid, New York, where the United States won the gold medal, was renamed Herb Brooks Arena. A statue of Brooks depicting his reaction to the victory in the 'Miracle' game was erected at the entrance to the RiverCentre in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 2003.
The Herb Brooks Award is awarded at the conclusion of the Minnesota State High School League's state hockey tournament to "the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined Herb Brooks."
The Herb Brooks Training Center is located at Blaine, Minnesota.
In 2006, Brooks was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders' category. The inscription reads: "A man of passion and dedication, Herb Brooks inspired a generation of Americans to pursue any and all dreams."
Brooks's original expressions were known by his players as "Brooksisms", some of which were included in Miracle. According to Olympians John Harrington, Dave Silk, and Mike Eruzione, these are a few.
|Alma mater||University of Minnesota|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1971-1972||Minnesota Junior Stars|
|1980||US Olympic Team|
|1981-1985||New York Rangers|
|1986-1987||St. Cloud State|
|1987-1988||Minnesota North Stars|
|1992-1993||New Jersey Devils|
|1995-2002||Pittsburgh Penguins (scout)|
|1998||France Olympic Team|
|2002||US Olympic Team|
|2002-2003||Pittsburgh Penguins (Dir. of Player Development)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|1974 Big Ten Champion|
1974 WCHA Tournament Champion
1974 NCAA National Champion
1975 Big Ten Champion
1975 WCHA Regular Season Champion
1975 WCHA Tournament Champion
1976 WCHA Tournament Champion
1976 NCAA National Champion
1979 Big Ten Champion
1979 WCHA Tournament Champion
1979 NCAA National Champion
1987 NCHA Regular Season Champion
|1974 WCHA Coach of the Year|
|Minnesota Golden Gophers (WCHA / Big Ten) (1972-1979)|
|1972-73||Minnesota||15-16-3||12-13-3 / 5-4-3||6th / 3rd||WCHA First Round|
|1973-74||Minnesota||22-11-6||14-9-5 / 5-4-3||2nd / t-1st||NCAA National Champion|
|1974-75||Minnesota||31-10-1||24-8-0 / 8-4-0||1st / 1st||NCAA Runner-Up|
|1975-76||Minnesota||28-14-2||18-13-1 / 4-8-0||3rd / 3rd||NCAA National Champion|
|1976-77||Minnesota||17-21-3||13-16-3 / 5-7-0||7th / 3rd||WCHA Semifinals|
|1977-78||Minnesota||22-14-2||18-13-1 / 6-6-0||4th / 3rd||WCHA First Round|
|1978-79||Minnesota||32-11-1||20-11-1 / 10-2-0||2nd / 1st||NCAA National Champion|
|Minnesota:||167-97-18||119-83-14 / 43-35-6|
|St. Cloud State Huskies (NCHA) (1986-1987)|
|1986-87||St. Cloud State||25-10-1||13-6-1||t-1st||NCAA Third Place Game (Win)|
|St. Cloud State:||25-10-1||13-6-1|
Postseason invitational champion
+Minnesota played jointly in the Big Ten and WCHA from 1959 to 1981
Note: G = Games, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points
|NYR||1981–82||80||39||27||14||92||2nd in Patrick||Lost in Division Finals (NYI)|
|NYR||1982–83||80||35||35||10||80||4th in Patrick||Lost in Division Finals (NYI)|
|NYR||1983–84||80||42||29||9||93||4th in Patrick||Lost in Division Semifinals (NYI)|
|MIN||1987–88||80||19||48||13||51||5th in Norris||Missed playoffs|
|NJ||1992–93||84||40||37||7||87||4th in Patrick||Lost in Division Semifinals (PIT)|
|PIT||1999–2000||58||29||24||5||(63)||3rd in Atlantic||Lost in Conference Semifinals (PHI)|
|Total||507||219||222||66||504||5 playoff appearances|
Note: GC = Games coached, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OL = Overtime loss, Pts = Points, Pct = Winning percentage
|1980||USA Olympic Men's Team||IIHF||Gold Medal|
|1998||France Olympic Men's Team||IIHF||11th-place finish|
|2002||USA Olympic Men's Team||IIHF||Silver Medal|