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Dr. George Nagobads, 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team physician, dies at 101

Dr. George Nagobads

(Original Caption) Dr. George Nagobads grabs goalie James Craig, hero of USA team’s 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the Olympics’ semifinals, 2/22.

Bettmann Archive

Dr. George Nagobads, the 1980 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team doctor and U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer, died Friday at age 101, according to USA Hockey and the University of Minnesota.

Nagobads was the doctor for the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1988. He is best known as being a right-hand man for coach Herb Brooks at the 1980 Lake Placid Games.

As depicted in the 2004 film “Miracle,” Brooks handed Nagobads a stopwatch before the penultimate game against the Soviet Union.

“Doc, we have to have our legs,” Brooks told him, according to “The Boys of Winter,” a book about the Miracle on Ice team. “We need short shifts. It’s the only way we can beat them. No shift can go more than 35 seconds (at least 10 seconds shorter than a typical shift). If somebody is on the ice for longer than that, I want you to tug on my sleeve.”

“I didn’t even get to see the game,” Nagobads said, according to the book. “I was too busy looking at the watch.”

Nagobads pushed Brooks to make Mike Eruzione the team captain and developed a close relationship with goalie Jim Craig. Craig lived in Nagobads’ basement before the Olympics, according to “Boys of Winter.”

Nagobads also served as team physician for the University of Minnesota men from 1958 until 1992. Brooks was a University of Minnesota player from 1955-59 and coach from 1970-79. Brooks died in a 2003 car accident.

Nagobads was also the team doctor at the first women’s world championship in 1990, where Canada beat the U.S. in the final.

Born in Latvia, he moved to the U.S. in the early 1950s after receiving a medical degree in Germany.

He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.

In 2003, the International Ice Hockey Federation gave Nagobads the Paul Loicq Award, which recognizes a person who has made “outstanding contributions to the IIHF and international hockey.”