Who Saw The U.S. & Soviet Union Play Hockey in Battle Creek in the 1980s?
Battle Creek was one of many cities that saw a spike in hockey interest following the "Miracle on Ice" in 1980 when the United States hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, advancing to eventually win a team gold medal.
In the early 1980s, Kellogg Arena installed a system to make ice on its concrete floor which was removed several years ago. Following that, several International hockey events were played there as teams from around the world traveled to Battle Creek, including the U.S.S.R., China, and Canada among others.
Recently in the Facebook group 'You Know You're From Battle Creek When...', a topic was brought up about these games. A woman named Connie D. Davidson posed the question: "Does anyone else remember the Russian hockey team playing the US team in Battle Creek at the Kellogg Area? I believe it was around 1983. My two sons were flag holders for the anthem." Dozens of comments followed from people who said that they also had attended not only that game but others as well.
There were several international tournaments hosted beginning in January of 1982 which was billed as World Games 82. The teams were from the United States, Canada, Japan, and the People's Republic of China.
Another tournament from December 27-31, 1982, billed as World Games 2, fielded the United States National Team, The Soviet Union represented by Torpedo Gorky of the Kontinental Hockey League, an all-star team from Finland's top league, Canada was represented by the Universite de Moncton, and the national team of Japan.
World Games 3, also billed as the Battle Creek World Hockey Tournament, featured Western Michigan University representing team USA, the University of Saskatchewan representing Canada, the national team of Japan and a team representing the Soviet Union.
There were international tournaments hosted several more years, before unfortunately fading away. - James Holds
Yes, teams from Finland, Canada, Russia and a few others were there for a Tournament, kind of a prequel to the Winter Olympics of 1984 - Becca Culp
I was there! I recieved a puck and goalie stick from the USSR players. My father, an immigrant from Belarus was speaking to the players in Russian, and they gave me the stuff. There was a short paragraph in the (Battle Creek) Enquirer about it. - John Osyp Prigun
They gave me some pins and a signed ball, I gave it away, not knowing who they were, might still have the pins. I worked at Sears candy counter then, they came in and gave them to me. - Rosalie Baker
Do you have a story or memory from this? Or even better, do you happen to have any photos to share from these hockey games in Battle Creek? We would love to add them to this article. You can leave them in the Facebook comments on this post.