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Ralph Cox: Last Guy Cut from 1980 U.S. Olympic "Miracle" Hockey Team

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
November 3, 2022 3:00 am

Ralph Cox: Last Guy Cut from 1980 U.S. Olympic "Miracle" Hockey Team

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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November 3, 2022 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, What you might know about Ralph comes from the 2004 Disney movie "Miracle," which is the true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that upset the powerful Soviets en route to the gold medal at Lake Placid. Here's Ralph to share the moment that changed his life forever.

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Purchase all free clear mega packs today. This is Lee Habib and this is our American stories and we tell stories about everything here on this show from the arts to sports and from business to history and everything in between including your stories. We've told the story of both the 1980 U.S. Olympics Miracle on Ice story and the captain of that team's story, Maika Ruzione. Here's Greg Hengle with an alternative look at that miraculous tale.

In his book, Win at Losing, How Our Biggest Setbacks Can Lead to Our Greatest Gains, Sam Wyman Explores How Failure Can Often Be Beneficial. Among the people he profiles is Ralph Cox, a former college hockey star who was squeezed out of arguably the greatest moment in sports history. What you might know about Ralph comes from the 2004 Disney movie, Miracle, which is the true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that upset the powerful Soviets en route to the gold medal at Lake Placid.

One of the movie's bit characters is a very likable forward with a thick Boston accent. Ralph Cox had shaky hair and a handlebar mustache and in college hockey, he was a prolific goal scorer. The problem is, Cox also suffered an ankle injury in the run-up to the games and it continued to nag him as the Americans were paring down their roster for Lake Placid. In one of the movie's most emotional scenes, U.S. coach Herb Brooks calls Cox into his office to relay the news that he had to make one more cut and Cox was it. Now here's Ralph Cox picking up the story following the last day of training camp in Minneapolis, Minnesota. People in Minneapolis were going to give us a going away banquet for you know living there.

We all lived in Minneapolis and that's where we trained. I get to the hotel where the banquet hall is and Herb wants to see me and someone says downstairs in a small conference room, a small banquet hall and as I'm walking down the stairs I'm realizing that this is probably the moment. Like I knew Herb even though no one had said it I really thought I was going to be on the team.

I really thought I would be on the team and go to Lake Placid. I sensed that he was calling me there to tell me otherwise. So you know I tell you I stayed outside the room for about the doors closed for a good five minutes just trying to catch my breath, get my composure because it was a very emotional moment.

It was very very hard to think about that possibility. So your emotions are running high and I opened the door. Finally I just said to myself you know have some courage take a breath go in there and see what's going on and when I walked in Herb was casing back and forth in the room. When he saw me come in he just looked at me and he welled up which I'd never seen that happen. I mean Herb was a very powerful guy and it took him a few minutes to be able to catch his breath or get his composure and he tried to talk and again he was a little emotional and at that moment for some reason I was extremely calm and in control and I looked at him I said you know hey it's gonna be all right and he sort of smiled at me a little bit and he said you know I've really enjoyed having you on the team. You've been great to have around your enthusiasm your passion for the game.

I think you're one of the best goal scorers I've ever seen or coached. He said I think your injury has really slowed you down it's only been five months we're going to be playing on a big ice surface and I have to make one of the toughest if not the toughest coefficient decision I've ever had to make Ralph and I'm not going to be able to take you and again he welled up and stood up and walked around the room a little bit and you know he sat back down again and we talked a little bit about about the Olympics I told him it was always a dream that I had to actually go there I said I really have a I don't know where this came from but I said I really have a funny feeling about this team that you're gonna have a real shot at a medal and he said and I said I think you can really win the gold medal and he started laughing and he said geez I'll be happy if we just have a good showing there's a lot of people are not sure about that he said it's nice to see you feel like that you know he said if I can ever do anything for you ever in your career he said it'd be a pleasure to to be able to do that and what I what I didn't know at that time and I didn't know for almost 10 years but it made sense after after the 10 years because it was an article on Sports Illustrated and the the author of the article asked Herb you know at that moment when the final seconds ticked out and you knew you're going to win the gold medal what you're thinking about and he said I was thinking about Ralph Cox and I'm reading the article and I'm thinking that's unusual and then I went on to talk about Herb being the last cut in the 1960 Olympics right before the Olympics and just the ironic moment that you know he when he was probably letting me go he was thinking of himself I knew it was hard for him and it was obviously a crushing moment for me as an athlete and I remember when I left there you know I thought my life was over this was going to be it you know it'd never be the same and and and and my life would be very different which it which it has been and it took a few years to sort of adjust who you are in the world because you think you know at that point as an athlete you think yourself as a hockey player but it it really forced me and helped me think about myself and the world around me in a much I think a much healthier way and in a good way and and I went on I had a great career playing in Europe and you know a lot of good moments in hockey and a lot of good moments working with the penguins with Herb and people used to tell me don't you hate Herb Brooks not for a second I enjoyed him as a coach he was a phenomenal hockey coach you know and I don't think people need me to say that but he was the best bench coach that I think most of us on that team ever had and you know it wasn't easy I think melding that team together we were all young and enthusiastic guys and all of us were the captains of our team we all had big egos and we all wanted to play and we thought we should be playing all the time killing penalties on the power play and you know the guys from the east really that's true and the guys from the west they had this culture clash and he had a way of bringing us together and he certainly was as good as coaches I've ever played for Ralph Cox was the ECAC player of the year in 1979 and he played professionally in Europe before joining the Pittsburgh Penguins as a scout winning two Stanley Cups he currently has a successful real estate business and still gets together with the players from the 1980 team and great job on that Greg the story of Ralph Cox here on Our American Stories Thanks for watching and I'll see you next time on Our American Stories. Help us keep the great American stories coming that's our americanstories.com when the world gets in the way of your music try the new Bose QuietComfort earbuds too. Next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears they use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love Bose QuietComfort earbuds too.

Sound shape to you. To learn more visit Bose.com I'm Ty Montague and I'm the host of Calling Bullsh**t the first podcast about purpose washing where we dig into the difference between what companies say they stand for and the actions that they're taking. Join us as we investigate organizations like Noom and Spotify. Let's call BS on companies that deserve it but also make some suggestions for cleaning that BS up. Listen to the Calling Bullsh**t podcast on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-07 14:18:45 / 2022-11-07 14:21:11 / 2

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