Jim Craig
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
190 lb (86 kg)
Teams Atlanta Flames
Boston Bruins
Minnesota North Stars
Born (1957-05-31)May 31, 1957,
NHL Draft 72nd overall, 1977
Atlanta Flames
WHA Draft 29th overall, 1977
Cincinnati Stingers
Pro Career 1979 – 1984
Olympic medal record
Men's ice hockey
Gold 1980 Lake Placid Team

Jim Craig (born May 31, 1957, in Easton, Massachusetts, USA) was an American ice hockey goaltender who is most notable for being the goaltender for the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won the Olympic gold medal at the Lake Placid Winter Games. Craig had a standout Olympic tournament. In the Olympic semifinal game against the heavily favored Soviet Union, Craig stopped 36 of 39 shots on goal as the U.S. beat the Soviets, 4-3, in what is widely considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history. Two days later, the U.S. defeated Finland, 4-2, in the Olympic final and captured Olympic gold. Craig went on to play professionally in the National Hockey League, where he started for the Atlanta Flames, Boston Bruins, and Minnesota North Stars between 1980 and 1983.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Amateur career[edit | edit source]

Jim Craig's equipment from the 1980 Olympics, on display at the HHOF

Craig attended and played hockey at Boston University (BU), after one year at Massasoit Community College. He led BU to the NCAA Division I championship in 1978 and was an NCAA All-Star in 1979. He was inducted into the BU Hall of Fame in 1989.

1980 Winter Olympics[edit | edit source]

He is best known as the goalie for the United States in the Miracle on Ice, when the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the favoured Soviet Olympic hockey team. Craig played a key role in one of the landmark moments in United States sports history. In the game against the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics, Craig deflected 36 of 39 shots from an attacking unit led by the great Boris Mikhailov. Craig's skill was the most helpful in the final moments of the game and allowed the underdog U.S team to retain their one goal lead and eventually win 4-3. The flag that Craig wore after the upset is now displayed at the Sports Museum of America in New York City. Two days later, he again would lead the way to a 4-2 victory over Finland, clinching the gold medal.

Professional career[edit | edit source]

Originally drafted by the Atlanta Flames with the 72nd pick in the 1977 NHL Entry Draft, Craig joined the Flames shortly after the Olympics and won his first game as an NHL professional. However, he found it difficult to duplicate his magic in the NHL. The following season, the Boston Bruins brought him home to Massachusetts in a trade with Atlanta. He served as the Bruins' backup goaltender during the 1980-81 regular season but again failed to make an impression and he did not participate in the 1981 NHL Playoffs. Craig returned to the US national team for the 1981 Canada Cup but missed the tournament due to injury and the following season was spent in the minor leagues with the Erie Blades. Craig's final moment of glory was in 1983 when he again played very well for the United States in the 1983 IIHF Pool B tournament. Craig was named goaltender of the tournament and the Minnesota North Stars promptly signed him to a free agent contract. He would make a final three NHL appearances for the North Stars in 1984 before retiring from hockey.

Awards and achievements[edit | edit source]

  • ECAC First All-Star Team (1979)
  • NCAA East First All-American Team (1979)
  • Olympic Gold Medal Team U.S.A (1980)
  • Ice Hockey World Championships B Pool Tournament All-Star Team (1983)
  • Inducted into IIHF Hall of Fame in 1999

External links[edit | edit source]

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