LAKE PLACID — Technicians carefully took down the famed scoreboard that clocked the 4-3 score for the Miracle on Ice.
All four faces were set to the same score at Lake Placid’s 1980 Olympic Center last week, marking nearly 39 years above the ice sheet.
USA’s win over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games was just one of thousands of hockey games it clocked.
And amid the fanfare, Ted Blazer, president and CEO of the Olympic Regional Development Authority, said it recalled a time when America did believe in miracles.
Then state-of-the-art, the scoreboard was installed in 1978, according to ORDA spokesman Jon Lundin.
“This is the only board that has ever lived in the arena. So after 39 years, it was taken down to make way for a new video board.”
The “Miracle” marker was made by Daktronics in Brookings, South Dakota. And the same American company is installing the newest version with four video display panels.
“Daktronics built and installed all of the video boards for the 1980 Winter games to include the bobsled and luge facility, Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, ski jumping, speed skating and all three scoreboards in the Olympic Center: to include the USA Rink and the ‘32 rink,” Lundin said.
The two boards in the Olympic center are being replaced now for a cost of about $500,000.
In describing the new equipment being installed, Daktronics said the center-hung board has four identical video displays, each measuring more than 7 feet high by 12.5 feet wide.
“The new displays are capable of meeting fan’s expectations for live video, instant replays, up-to-the-minute statistics and other game information. The variable-content zoning feature allows each display to show one large image or to show multiple windows of differing content, statistics or sponsorship messages.”
The 1980 Olympic version is being replaced, Lundin said, because it has become difficult to find parts.
“Plus, we agreed with the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) hockey to update the board, to add a video board for their championship tournament held each March in Lake Placid. The new board will allow for more crowd interaction during games and give us the ability to show replays, contests, trivia and other video highlights.”
The old four-sided scoreboard was hung on cables from the Olympic Center ceiling.
And that was a first for Daktronics, too, Lundin added.
“Today they have scoreboards throughout the U.S. I challenge you to tune into any college basketball game and not see a Daktronics scoreboard. They are in almost every arena or stadium throughout the country.”
Near ceremonial, final steps in removing the famed Olympic “miracle” board brought 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team player Buzz Schneider back to Olympic arena to mark the moment representing the famed team.
Panels from scoreboard won’t be relegated to gather dust.
One of the four board faces will be kept by Daktronics and another placed in the Lake Placid Olympic Museum collection just downstairs from the arena.
From Daktronics, Jim Morgan, a member of the corporate board and project engineer for the original installation, waxed nostalgic as it sat on the ice.
“This is an iconic site, not only in the history of USA Olympics, but also in the history of Daktronics,” he said of ORDA’s Olympic Center.
“The project represented a significant accomplishment for our company as our first major event on the international stage. Daktronics was a much smaller company at the time, so providing scoring and timing for our first Olympics was a very fun and exciting challenge.
“Many of us watched the game in 1980 and experienced the miracle ourselves. It’s something we have a strong connection to and we are honored to bring the venue into the next generation of live event entertainment.”
Lundin said locations for the remaining two panels of the “miracle” scoreboard have not yet been determined.