USA Olympic hockey captain Mike Eruzione was among the many Winthrop hockey fans following the progress of Boston Pride captain Jillian Dempsey and her women’s professional hockey team this season.
Eruzione knows all about team chemistry and team leadership. His goal to beat the Soviet Union and the ensuing gold medal-clinching victory over Finland was selected by Sports Illustrated as “the greatest sports moment of the 21st century.”
Last Wednesday Eruzione visited the Larsen Rink at the Mike Eruzione Center to welcome Dempsey into an exclusive club: having a permanent display for your hockey jersey at the Winthrop rink.
“I’ve always said that Jillian’s the unkept secret in Winthrop not only as a player having a great hockey career, but as a person, teacher, educator, Harvard graduate, and a role model for the girls and boys in the town,” said Eruzione, an alumnus of Boston University. “She has demonstrated what you can accomplish when you work hard and do the right things and Jillian’s clearly done that. I think her jersey being in the rink is a tribute to her career and what’s she done.”
Glancing at her jersey, Dempsey said, “It’s just an incredible honor. Actually, some of my students had told me that they saw my jersey in the rink. When I came into the rink and I saw it, I was just amazed and so honored. I’m grateful for everything the town has done for me, and Mike has been so supportive and so wonderful. I’m just really touched by this recognition.”