In my Liebster award post, I mentioned a super awesome blogger Caity, who nominated me. I was initially hooked because of our mutual
So this all got me thinking... I love this concept. I think everyone should blog about things that get them excited, that they could yammer on about for days. And I'm all about spreading the love! So I'm stealing her idea. Thanks, Caity! ;)
I, however, will be writing weekly posts about a different group of boys, and on a different alliterative day.
(Raise your hand if you're surprised! I'm actually surprised it took me this long to do something like this.)
I didn't truly get all gung-ho about this team until I learned more about the players as people. When they went from being nameless and faceless to having personalities, quirks, hardships, best friends and interests outside of hockey, suddenly it all felt more accessible to me. Heck, most of them were in younger in Lake Placid than I am right now! These are real, regular human beings who just so happened to do something pretty damn extraordinary.
So, to spread the love, I'll be highlighting one member of the team each week! Because all of them are epic, even the one that never saw any ice time. Which brings me to our first spotlight...
+ Janny (because on this here blog, we refer to guys by their nicknames as if we know them personally) was quite the epic athlete, earning 10 letters in high school for hockey, football, golf and soccer. He was the backbone of the hockey team, and he'd been nicknamed "The Man." The dude was legit. He played for Herb Brooks at the University of Minnesota, and the Gophers won the NCAA championship in both 1976 and 1979. Janny was named tournament MVP in 1979, but just months later, Herb selected him for the Olympic team... as Jim Craig's backup.
+ Janny was the only player in the entire Lake Placid 1980 hockey tournament to not play a single minute. But he remained positive and supportive, and even helped sharpen his teammates' skates. Other guys on the team have said that now, looking back on the Olympics, they don't remember him as not playing. They still felt he was as much a part of the team as anybody else. And one of the first things Jim Craig did in the post-gold medal press conference was publicly thank Janny for his contributions to the team. (I love me some goalie love!) But Janny's Olympics wasn't a total personal bust for him. That's where he met his future wife, who was working as a translator in the Olympic village. :) (I'm sorry, but is that not the cutest story you've ever heard?)
+ While he's mostly known for being the ultimate team player, I feel the need to stress that Janny was far from just some passive presence on the bench. He constantly worked his butt off and came up big in important situations, and wasn't afraid to stand up to Herb when he felt he was being treated unfairly. He also happened to be a chemical engineering major in college (in other words, he was brilliant). Janny was absolutely not a doormat -- he had his role on the team, and Herb valued him for his ability to fill that role flawlessly.
+ Undrafted by the NHL, after the Olympics Janny signed with the Minnesota North Stars. He played for several franchises over the next few years, mostly in their minor league systems, before retiring in 1983.
+ Sorry to end on kind of a scary note, but... Janny worked as a bond salesman for an investment banking firm on the 89th floor of the South Tower in the World Trade Center until March of 2001. So, like, six months before 9/11. He says the company lost 67 people when the towers collapsed, including most of the people on the trading desk where he had worked. (Probably a good thing that he took that other job, huh? Sheesh.)
And now, watch this video and appreciate. (Also, this reporter is my spirit animal. "I've been wanting and waiting to interview you for 34 years!" That dude gets it.)