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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,094

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This is the grave of Herb Brooks.

Born in 1937 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Brooks did what kids in Minnesota do–play hockey. He was a star as a high schooler, leading his team to the state title in 1955. He then went on to the University of Minnesota, where he played for four years, graduating in 1959. He almost made the 1960 Olympics team but was the last cut a week before the games started. Bummer. Well, he’d have his time. Although he never played in the NHL, he did play on the 1964 and 1968 Olympics teams. He also played in the United States Hockey League and was a serious scorer.

In 1970, Brooks went into coaching. In 1972, he got the job back at Minnesota and he was extremely successful. His teams won 3 NCAA hockey titles, in 74, 76, and 79. He then got the job as the 1980 Olympics Team coach. This, as you know, was the Miracle of Ice team that somehow won the gold, easily the most important moment in the history of U.S. hockey. That made him super famous within the hockey world. After a brief stint coaching in Switzerland in 1981, he became the coach of the New York Rangers in 1981. He did OK. His best year was in 1983-84 when the Rangers went 42-29-9, but then they cratered in 1985 and Brooks was fired. He coached at St. Cloud State to keep busy for a year, then the Minnesota North Stars hired him in 1987. That only lasted a year. He floated a lot after that, coaching the Devils in 92-93 and the Penguins in 99-00. He also coached the Olympics team in 1988 and 2002. He did some scouting and some TV.

In 2003, Brooks was driving. He fell asleep behind the wheel, crashed, and died. Of course he was not wearing a seat belt. He would have survived had not been an idiot. He was 65 years old.

Herb Brooks is buried in Roselawn Cemetery, Roseville, Minnesota.

I should say here as well that this was not intentionally timed to coincide with the hockey playoffs, but I know how much Scott is suffering as his Flames are forced into a Game 7 with the Stars. So we can talk hockey playoffs here too.

If you would like this series to visit other hockey figures, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Of course, a Canadian grave trip would be like all hockey. But in the U.S., Sid Abel is in Livonia, Michigan and Eddie Shore is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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