'Miracle on Ice' Star Creates a Buzz in Babbitt

Updated: 06/22/2014 10:32 PM
Created: 06/22/2014 6:56 PM
By: Travis Dill

Many cities have a hometown hero, but few are gold-medal winning Olympian like hockey star Buzz Schneider from Babbitt. The town honored the “Miracle on Ice” player by parading him down Central Boulevard on Sunday.

It has been over 30 years since Buzz Schneider helped defeat the Soviet Union in the “Miracle on Ice” and go on to win a gold medal, but residents in Babbitt still take pride in the victory as he paraded down the streets he grew up on.

“Special, it didn't really hit me until I came into town, and they got that sign about me in front of the town. That's when it started to hit me, and to be a grand marshal of the town you grew up in that's really special,” Buzz Schneider said.

He led a parade on Sunday that concluded Babbitt's summer festival, the Peter Mitchell Days. The celebration honors the only thing that means more than hockey in Northnern Minnesota.

“The memorial in the center of town is one of the original test sites for the Iron Range. It was one of the original rocks taken out. So the home of Taconite of course is the pride of it, absolutely,” Rick Jaeger said.

Jaeger is a resident who has seen mining jobs wane and the Babbitt population dip, but he said they stick with their hockey heritage.

“We're steeped in hockey tradition around here. The kids around here have to travel a long ways to play hockey. It's not in their backyard like the Twin Cities folks,” Jaeger said.

Schneider said he loves coming back home to see the people's passion and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Northland.

“I don't think you can beat Northern Minnesota. I did a lot of traveling, but to come back up in the summertime there is nothing like it up here. The people are pretty neat, hard-working people, honest and you respect them just like they respect you. This is really special for me,” Schneider said.

He said life has changed on the Iron Range, but Babbitt residents are proud of what they've been able to hold on to.

“Just pride of community coming from a small town at the end of the road down at the Iron Range,” Jaeger said.

Front Page

  • Woman Hospitalized after Armed Standoff with Deputies in Douglas County

    A 22-year-old Lake Nebagamon woman was hospitalized on Wednesday evening after an armed standoff with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. 

  • City of Tower Starts Dredging on Multi-Million-Dollar Harbor Project

    The City of Tower is starting a new phase of an old dream. Back in June, WDIO's sister station KSTP reported that Tower's multi-million-dollar Harbor Renaissance Project hadn't gone anywhere in seven years. But Wednesday, the City said they're moving forward.

  • Minnesota Food Charter Launched at DECC

    Around five hundred people flocked to the DECC for the Minnesota Statewide Food Access Summit. One of the big events? The launch of the of the Minnesota Food Charter. Only four other states have a food charter, but Food Charter Steering Committee Chair Mindy Kurzer said number five is unique.

  • Bong Bridge to Reopen Friday

    The Duluth-bound lanes of the Richard I. Bong Bridge are expected to reopen Friday morning after a summer of construction.  Superior-bound lanes have remained open this year but will be closed next year.

  • TV Campaign Ads Make Wealth an Issue in Minn. Election

    It seems an hour doesn't go by without several television campaign ads criticizing a candidate for having millions of dollars or trying to line his or her pockets at government expense. Class warfare is nothing new in politics, but it certainly is more pronounced in Minnesota this year because of two Republican candidates: Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden. They've been the target of a barrage of attack ads aimed at their personal wealth and how they accumulated it.


Lake Effect Snow Advisory

Expires: 10/31/2014 11:00 AM

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Gogebic; Houghton; Keweenaw; Ontonagon; Southern Houghton
Expires: 10/31/2014 12:00 PM

Lakeshore Flood Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Alger; Baraga; Gogebic; Houghton; Keweenaw; Marquette; Ontonagon
Expires: 10/31/2014 2:00 PM