'Minnesota lost its head coach today'

Updated: August 12, 2003, 10:50 AM ET
Associated Press

"Herb was one of those people who believed in the task. Whether or not there was any glory was unimportant. ... The miracle of 1980 was really the miracle of character."
-- Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson.




"He knew what needed to be done, and he did what he had to to win in 1980. The guy belonged behind the bench. That's where his greatest achievements came."
-- University of Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi.




''(Former Gophers coach) John Mariucci is the godfather of Minnesota hockey, but Herbie is number two, without question. He made an impact like no one else. He was a person of conviction and character who wasn't afraid to take an unpopular stand and stick up for what he believed in."
-- Glen Sonmor, a former coach of the Minnesota North Stars and Gophers.




"I wish my kids could have played one game under him as coach, just one game, to see what it meant to play for him. I was blessed to play for him and to be his friend afterward. I can't believe I just lost my best friend."
-- Michael Polich, a University of Minnesota player from 1972-75.




"I played for a lot of coaches. And Herbie is the greatest coach I ever played for."
-- Reed Larson, a former Gophers player who played 14 years in the NHL.




"I think Herb's spirit will continue to live and benefit hockey in this country. I think that's what he'd want. He's a passionate, patriotic American and proud of our hockey players, and showed it when he led them to victory in Lake Placid and in Salt Lake."
-- Lou Vairo, an assistant under Brooks at the 2002 Olympics and currently USA Hockey's director of special projects.




"Herb was a tireless supporter of USA Hockey players and programs, a relentless advocate of the speed and beauty of our game. Making one of Herb Brooks' teams was an extraordinary accomplishment."
-- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.




"My gut reaction is Minnesota lost its head coach today. Herb Brooks was a Minnesota legend, a Minnesota treasure."
-- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.




"This is a huge loss for everybody in the game, especially those of us from the United States. He was a great ambassador for the game and he will be sorely missed."
-- Dallas Stars forward Bill Guerin, who played for Brooks on the 2002 U.S. Olympic team and the 1992-93 New Jersey Devils.




"It seems like all the great innovators die young. Coach may have been the greatest innovator the sport has ever had."
-- Ken Morrow, a defenseman on the gold medal-winning 1980 Olympic team and now a scout for the New York Islanders.




"Herb was never one to wax nostalgic. I never saw him exult in this or brag about it, and there was very little emotion shown by Herb. In the early years, he thought it was just part of his job -- being a coach -- and he approached how they won that game almost like an analyst. But the last couple of times I saw him, you could see that he was beginning to gain a greater appreciation for what happened."
-- Broadcaster Al Michaels, whose call at the end of the United States' win over the Soviet Union in 1980 has become one of the most famous in sports history.




"I am in shock. It's a sad day for his family and friends. He was a unique individual -- innovative. He had a passion for the game. For people in the game, you had to respect that."
-- New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, a friend of Brooks for 40 years.




"He truly was part of our American hockey heritage. There was nobody like Herb Brooks. He was a stalwart member of the hockey community of the United States."
-- Tom Sersha, executive director at U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.




"Today's a sad day for hockey. It's a monumental loss for the University of Minnesota."
-- University of Minnesota hockey coach Don Lucia.




"It's a great loss for USA hockey. He was a master motivator, a great thinker,"
-- Bob Allen, who operated the Olympic Center during the 1980 Winter Games.




"I knew him for 30 years -- we played together, we coached together, we worked together. Herbie lived the game and he loved the game."
-- Pittsburgh Penguins GM Craig Patrick, Brooks' assistant on the 1980 Olympic team. Patrick also was Brooks' boss the past eight years, when Brooks served as a scout, interim coach and then director of player development for the Penguins.




"What he did with that team basically made Lake Placid what it is today."
-- Sandy Caligiore of the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority, which operates the Olympic Center where Mike Eruzione scored his game-winning goal against the Soviets.




"As head coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic ice hockey team, Coach Brooks helped craft one of the most inspiring moments in Olympic history. He cared deeply about the sport of hockey and devoted much of his life to developing the game, both nationally and internationally."
-- The United States Olympic Committee.




"It's a real tough day. On a very sad note, we lose not only a great coach and an innovator of the game, but a real good friend.''
-- Mark Johnson, a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team and currently the University of Wisconsin's head women's hockey coach.




"He was a teammate of mine as well as a great innovator and motivator in hockey. The entire USA Hockey family is going to miss him."
-- USA Hockey President Ron DeGregorio, who played with Brooks as part of a traveling team in 1970-71.




"This is a great loss for the Penguins and for the entire hockey world."
-- Pittsburgh Penguins owner and captain Mario Lemieux.




"Herb was a great teacher and a hometown hero who never forgot where he came from. He was my friend and I will miss him dearly.''
-- U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press