Bob Suter died on Tuesday of an apparent heart attack at age 57. He leaves behind an incredible legacy as an American hockey player and coach, and is the first player from the 1980 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team to pass away.
Suter was a defenseman on the Miracle On Ice team that captured Olympic gold in 1980, bringing an edge to his skilled game. He’s the lone member of that team to have a son who played in the NHL: Ryan Suter, the smooth-skating defenseman for the Minnesota Wild, whose Olympic participation in 2010 and 2014 for Team USA created a rare father and son legacy in Olympic hockey.
“I know there haven’t been too many (father-son) combinations that have played in the Olympic Games,” Bob Suter, who traveled to Sochi to watch Ryan in February, told the Tennessean. “It’s something he’s really wanted to do, and I’m proud he’ll be able to experience it.”
Bob Suter was also a proud alumnus of the University of Wisconsin, and was heavily involved in youth hockey in the state through the Madison Capitols USHL program. He also owned a sporting goods store called Gold Medal Sports and was a part owner of Capitol Ice Arena, where he was working when he had his heart attack.
Like many of his Miracle On Ice teammates, Suter never found NHL success. He was signed as a free agent by the Minnesota North Stars in 1981, but never saw the ice in the NHL.
Instead, he supported his family’s NHL efforts. Brother Gary was an NHL defenseman from 1985 to 2002 and was a two-time Olympian.
Son Ryan has been one of the best defensemen in the NHL since entering the League in 2005 and is also a two-time Olympian -- one who will no doubt continue to battle for another gold medal for the U.S., like the one his father helped win 34 years ago.
“I used to bring it to school often when I was a kid, because my teachers would always ask me to bring it in. They wanted it there every day, so they would show it to other teachers,” said Ryan Suter of his father’s medal in an interview with Puck Daddy.
“Sure, when I was younger I used to put it on. Pretty much everyone in my class put it on. It was probably also dropped a few times. It was pretty neat to bring it in, but at the time I just didn’t know how special it really was.”