Hockey icon Mike Eruzione, who was captain of the “Miracle on Ice” team that famously defeated the Russians during the 1980 Olympics, said he regrets wearing a “Keep America Great” hat along with his teammates during a President Trump rally last week in Nevada.
Mr. Trump honored 14 of the 20 players from the legendary team in Las Vegas on Friday to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of their shocking win over the Soviet Union, which paved the way for their gold medal victory over Finland.
Mr. Eruzione and nine of the other players upset anti-Trump fans after they wore “Keep America Great” hats onstage during the event, a decision Mr. Eruzione said he wouldn’t make again. He said a campaign aide handed the players the hats and he didn’t think twice about putting it on.
“I wasn’t thinking,” he said. “Maybe this shows I’m naive, shows I’m stupid. I don’t know. I don’t follow politics. I know he’s had some issues and said a lot of things people don’t like.”
Mr. Eruzione, who now serves as the director of special outreach at his alma mater, Boston University, said the backlash has been overwhelming. A Twitter account claiming to represent the team on Tuesday claimed that the team’s involvement in the Trump event was “not about politics or choosing sides.”
“If we knew we were going to piss off this many people, we probably would not have put the hats on,” Mr. Eruzione said. “That’s the big question here. A lot of the stuff I got was, ‘You guys said it’s not political, but when you put the hats on, you made it political.’ ”
Mr. Eruzione lamented that the team’s legacy could be tarnished by this one incident.
“I told my wife, ‘People think we are a disgrace,’” he said.
The Trump campaign called the criticism against the team a “shame.”
“The 1980 Olympic hockey team reminds us of a time when as a nation we came together to defeat communism,” communications director Tim Murtaugh told The Post. “It is a shame that today’s liberals are so intolerant of other political viewpoints that they threaten to cancel such great sports heroes from our history.”