Ryan Suter determined to create his own U.S. Olympic hockey team legacy

Eric Adelson
Yahoo SportsFebruary 16, 2014
Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 8 - United States v Russia
View photos
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 15: Ryan Suter #20 of United States warms up before the game against Russia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day eight of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 15, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

SOCHI, Russia – Every single American hockey fan loves talking about the "Miracle on Ice." Every. Single. Fan. Thirty-four years later, it's as discussed as any sports memory in the nation's history.

For Ryan Suter, that's not always a good thing.

Suter is an NHL All-Star and an Olympic silver medalist, but all that comes behind his main identifier: He's the son of a member of that 1980 team. The second line of his Wikipedia page reads as follows: "Ryan's father, Bob, was a member of the historic gold medal-winning 1980 United States Olympic hockey team that defeated the Soviet Union in the famous 'Miracle on Ice' game."

[Related: Team USA clinches Group A behind Phil Kessel's hat trick]

Until Ryan Suter wins his own Olympic gold medal, that shadow will hover over him. And his dad, too.

"He would like nothing more than for us to win the gold medal so we can be done talking about it," Suter said at the P&G Family House in the Olympic Village on Sunday. "So that every time I do an interview I don't have to talk about the '80 team.

"I'm so proud of my dad and proud of that team, but he just doesn't want every interview to be centered on it."

Asked if he feels the same way, Suter smiled and said, "Everybody seems to ask the same question."

[Photos: Sochi's best podium reactions]

Even the short video he did for P&G begins with 1980 and his dad's gold medal. "I wanted to be in the same category," Suter says in the spot.

Bob has rarely spoken about his greatest sports feat, though. "My dad never ever really said much about it. It was more, you go to school and you'd hear it from the teacher. Kids' parents would talk about it," Suter said.

Suter struggles to come up with stories about 1980 because he wasn't alive then. His own Olympic stories are even harder to discuss. The gold medal game loss to Canada at the Vancouver Games was, to him, the most difficult moment of his hockey life.

"You get so close to something you dream about and you come up short," Suter said. "It was tough, tough to deal with."

[Related: Time for Team USA to win men's hockey gold]

He replayed parts of the final game in his mind, and then tried to move on. But it's clear how much he wants this gold medal here in Sochi – for himself and for his dad.

Team USA has been the most impressive group in the tournament so far, but Suter isn't moved by that. "I don't think we're satisfied with how we've played," he said. "I don't think we're favorites at all."

Calls home to Minnesota this week have not been filled with hockey chatter. Ryan and Bob stick to the weather and the snow, mostly. They're avoiding the obvious.

Once again, everyone is talking about Team USA, and once again, the Suters are not. Not yet, anyway.