Phil Verchota

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Phil Verchota
Born (1956-12-28) December 28, 1956 (age 60)
Duluth, MN, USA
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 194 lb (88 kg; 13 st 12 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
Played for KHL
Minnesota North Stars
National team  United States
NHL Draft 75th overall, 1976
Minnesota North Stars
WHA Draft 79th overall, 1976
Calgary Cowboys
Playing career 1979–1984
Phil Verchota
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1980 Lake Placid Team competition

Phillip John Verchota (born December 28, 1956 in Duluth, Minnesota) is a retired American ice hockey forward. He is best known for being a member of the Miracle on Ice 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal. He also played on the US hockey team at the 1984 Winter Olympics, this time as team captain.

Amateur career[edit]

Verchota attended Duluth East High School where he also was a star defensive tackle in gridiron football and recruited for both football and hockey at the University of Minnesota. However, he chose not to play on the football team and devoted all attention on playing hockey for the Minnesota Gophers. Verchota was a member of the 1976 and 1979 NCAA championship teams coached by Herb Brooks.

International/professional career[edit]

Verchota made his international debut at the 1979 Ice Hockey World Championship in Moscow after his college career had ended. He then joined the U.S. Olympic team on a full-time basis for the 1979-80 season.

After the Olympics, Verchota opted to play overseas with Jokerit in Finland rather than sign a contract with the Minnesota North Stars, who had drafted him 75th overall in the 1976 NHL Entry Draft (he also turned down an offer from the North Stars in 1977 to leave U. of Minnesota early). Verchota also played for the U.S. national team at the 1981 ice hockey world championship tournament in Stockholm before taking a one-year sabbatical from hockey. He rejoined the U.S. national team as a full-time player in 1982/83 and helped the United States win the ice hockey world championship "Pool B" qualifying tournament in the spring of 1983. He continued with the US national program until the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, and retired from hockey afterwards.

Post playing career[edit]

Verchota (who is a business administration major and Williams Scholar at University of Minnesota) went into banking after retirement and became senior vice president of First American Bank in Willmar, Minnesota. He was named one of the 50 greatest players in University of Minnesota hockey history as part of "Legends on Ice" tribute in 2001. His gloves and helmet from 1980 are now displayed in the Smithsoninan at the castle.

In popular culture[edit]

Verchota is not featured in a 1981 TV movie about the 1980 U.S. hockey team called Miracle on Ice, but does appear in archival footage of the medal ceremony where he is awarded the gold medal.

In the 2004 Disney film Miracle, he is played by Kris Wilson, who in 2002 led the University of Wisconsin-Superior to the NCAA Division III hockey championship.[1]


  1. ^ Kris Wilson biography at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]