There are times in sports where miracles happen. Obviously, the Music City Miracle in the 2000 NFL playoffs to help the Tennessee Titans overcome the Buffalo Bills. Game 6 of the 1986 World Series with Mookie Wilson hitting the dribbler down the first base line through Bill Buckner’s legs. And of course, the 1951 “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” by Bobby Thompson to help the New York Giants beat the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 3, 1951 5-4.
However, there was one moment where an absolute magical memory took place in the eyes of sports fans around the entire globe. On March 25, 1994, in front of a packed house at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, with Team USA down 5-4 and 30 seconds on the clock against the bigger and stronger Team Iceland, “the Minnesota Miracle Man” Gordon Bombay drew up a play to shock Iceland’s system.
Playing deep in the zone, Guy Germaine delivered the puck to center ice to, what seemed to be, goaltender Greg Goldberg, who was moving up the ice precariously. Suddenly, in a flash, Goldberg took his helmet off...and it wasn’t even Goldberg at all! It was Russ Tyler, the young hometown hero from South Central Los Angeles, and the one who was neutralized by Iceland all game, on a directive by coach Wolf “the Dentist” Stansson.
Once the helmet came off, Germaine handed his stick to Tyler, who prepped up the puck. One Knuckle Puck later, and with mere seconds remaining, Team USA tied the game up 5-5. Team USA wound taking the winner-take-all shootout 4-3 and won the Gold Medal at the Junior Goodwill Games. The Miracle of the Knuckle Puck lives on in infamy around the great country of America, especially in hockey, where Russ Tyler lives on in infamy as an American Hero.
But what if I told you that this play should have a permanent asterisk towards it? What if I told you that there was shenanigans that transpired that should have negated the shot from even happening?
I’m going to say it: The Miracle of Knuckle Puck is a conspiracy.
There is one moment in particular of that game that stands out like a sore thumb. It is the smoking gun, as they say, that will help bolster my argument and completely turn this piece of American history into a true matter of shame by the 1994 Junior Goodwill Game committee.
I call this, “The Timeout Before The Knuckle Puck”.
With a little over a minute left in the game, Team USA Coach Bombay called a timeout. His objective prior to the timeout was simple. Down 5-4 off a very strong third period, Bombay knew he needed his “ace-in-the-hole” to tie this game up. Calling on Tyler to get off his Knuckle Puck, #56 hopped on the ice and was immediately covered up by a multitude of Iceland defenders. Knowing he needed to think of a plan and fast, Bombay called a timeout.
And this is where things get interesting.
According to USAHockeyRuleBook.com, Rule 636, Article F, “Each team is permitted one time-out of 60 seconds duration during the game whether in regulation play or overtime. For time curfew games, no time-outs shall be permitted.”
Why does this come up?
Well, as we see, Tyler was on the ice in full goalie regalia, pretending to be Goldberg. But, does it really take less than sixty seconds to put on goalie pads and equipment?
Not even close. According to a Yahoo! Answers page in 2007, it normally averages a player 10-20 minutes to gear up for a regular hockey player. By that assumption, there is NO way, especially during a sixty second time out, Russ Tyler had time to get off the ice, have Bombay draw up this play, and then switch equipment with Goldberg in the MIDDLE OF A CIRCULAR HUDDLE...IN SIXTY SECONDS!
So then there is only one alternative: the Goodwill Games officials allowed a longer than usual timeout for this transition to happen.
The referees had to have allowed a short stoppage in play to allow this to happen. Of course, the documentary “D2: The Mighty Ducks” does not display this happening, but there is no way this did not happen. It just isn’t, you know, REALISTIC.
So I sit here, in this Professional 3 Blog, I ask the people of America to look at the situation at hand and tell me one thing: Is the Miracle of the Knuckle Puck a Conspiracy? Look at the facts I have displayed here. I believe so.
Russ Tyler might have been a phenom in the world of the Junior Goodwill Games, but his game-tying Knuckle Puck in the 1994 games is a fraud. America, as much as I love you, you took a poor country’s dreams in Iceland and ruined it. It took a whole slew of people, but you made it happen. Iceland got robbed.
The Miracle of the Knuckle Puck is an out-and-out CONSPIRACY.