Today has been a sad day for the USA hockey community upon the news of Bob Suter, father of Minnesota Wild Defenseman Ryan Suter and member of the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 Olympic Hockey team, passing away suddenly today at the age of 57 in Madison, WI. He was also the older brother of Gary Suter, who played 16 years in the NHL and was a member of the 2002 Olympic hockey team that won silver at Salt Lake City.
I first saw the news about Mr. Suter’s passing this afternoon on Twitter, first reading about it as “Ryan Suter’s dad passed away.” I didn’t realize that it was THAT Bob Suter from the Miracle on Ice Olympic hockey team until later this afternoon after seeing some of the tributes on my personal twitter feed. (I was only 2 ½ when USA beat the Soviet Union in one of the greatest hockey games ever).
One of many tweets about Bob Suter
(Courtesy of Twitter.com)
Before playing in the 1980 Olympics where he would help Team USA win a gold medal, Bob Suter played college hockey at the University of Wisconsin—where he played on the 1976-77 team that won the NCAA championship. After his playing days, he returned to Madison, WI and became very involved in youth hockey with coaching, opening a sporting goods store and becoming part-owner and director of Capital Ice Arena in Middleton, WI. (NHL.com). Recently, he had done scouting work for the Minnesota Wild.
His Olympic team mate Mark Johnson (head coach of the University of Wisconsin Women’s Hockey Team) gave this statement that appeared on NHL.com today:
“We are all stunned…Everyone is shocked. It's a sad day for not only the community of Madison but the hockey community who knew Bob and all of the players who he touched and who he gave an opportunity to play hockey and climb up the ladder."
Bob Suter on the ice during the 1980 Olympic Games in
Lake Placid, NY.
Bob and Ryan Suter, with their respective gold medals.
(Ryan was a member of the 2004 US Juniors team that
won gold in Helsinki, Finland)
While I have never met Bob Suter in person. As a hockey fan, I want to say thank you to him for all that he has done for hockey. My condolences go out to his son, Ryan, and to the rest of the Suter family during this unbelievably difficult time.