Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Former 1980 Olympian Suter Passes On

Bob Suter, a member of the 1980 Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, and a former Wisconsin Badger, died of an apparent heart attack yesterday in Madison, Wisc. He was 57.

Suter, brother of former NHL defensemen Gary Suter and former Badger player John Suter, and father of current Minnesota Wild blueliner Ryan Suter, was a defenseman on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team that upset Russia and then topped Finland to claim the gold medal in Lake Placid. Bob Suter is also is the first player from that storied squad to pass away, having been preceded by head coach Herb Brooks, who died in a car crash in 2003.

"This is a heart-breaking day," said Wisconsin men's coach and former Badger teammate Mike Eaves at "Bob was the ultimate teammate. He could skate like the wind and was as hard of a competitor that I ever knew. He has passed much too young."

A 1977 draft choice of both the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the WHA's Birmingham Bulls, Suter played for his hometown University of Wisconsin from 1975 to 1979, helping the Badgers to an NCAA title as a sophomore. In 1978-79, as a senior, he posted 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points in 40 games, according to hockeydb. He closed out his college career with a total of 27-76103 points and 377 penalty minutes in 157 appearances.

Suter, who set a Badgers record for most assists in game by a defenseman with five against Denver in 1979, was also a college teammate of current Badger men's coach Mike Eaves and current women's coach Mark Johnson. He also played seven games with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League after graduation.

After joining the U.S. National Team, Suter won gold with Johnson at Lake Placid despite having broken his ankle during the club's preliminary tour. He played one final pro season in 1981-82 with the CHL's Nashville South Stars, notching 12-2133 points and 160 PIM in 79 outings.

Suter, who also owned a sporting goods shop in Madison, was aiding the newest incarnation of the Madison Capitals junior team at the time of his passing.

"I think he was in a great place with the new USHL team coming in and they were just getting up and starting to practice and getting ready for some exhibition games," said Johnson on the Badgers web site, "It is unfortunate that this happened at such a young age, and there are a lot of people who are going to miss him."

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