Historic Upsets and Wins: Memorable Moments in Michigan History


Michigan, also known as the “Great Lakes State”, is renowned for its beautiful landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and love for sports, particularly hockey. Over the years, the state has witnessed numerous memorable moments in hockey, from historic upsets to surprising wins. These moments not only shaped the history of Michigan, but also left a lasting impression on the world of hockey. In this article, we will delve into some of the most iconic upsets and wins in Michigan’s hockey history, reminiscing on the triumphs and the heartbreaks that have made the state a hub for hockey lovers.

The Miracle on Ice: Michigan’s Unbelievable Upset

No list of historic upsets in Michigan’s hockey history can be complete without the mention of the 1980 Winter Olympics. It was a time of great political tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the US hockey team was considered a huge underdog. The Soviet Union had long been the dominant force in international hockey, having won the gold medal in every Olympic Games since 1964, while the US had not even made it to the podium since 1960.

However, the team of young, amateur players from Michigan, representing the US, defied all odds and defeated the Soviet Union in a dramatic match, that has since been known as the “Miracle on Ice”. The win not only shook the world of hockey, but also united the nation in a moment of pride and patriotism.

Michigan’s Four Stanley Cup Wins: The Ultimate Triumph

The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, symbolizes the ultimate triumph in the sport of hockey. The cup has made its way to Michigan on four separate occasions, each of which has added to the state’s legacy in the sport.

The first win came in 1997, when the Detroit Red Wings, led by captain Steve Yzerman, beat the Philadelphia Flyers in four straight games to win the cup for the first time in 42 years. It was a historic moment not just for the Red Wings, but also for the entire city of Detroit, which had been going through tough economic times.

The following year, in 1998, the Red Wings once again brought the Stanley Cup to Michigan, after defeating the Washington Capitals in four games. This back-to-back win further solidified the team’s status as a powerhouse in the hockey world.

In 2002, the cup returned to Michigan for the third time, as the Red Wings, led by the legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, won their third championship in six years. And in 2008, the Detroit Red Wings claimed their fourth Stanley Cup win, solidifying Michigan’s place as one of the leading states in the sport of hockey.

Michigan’s First Frozen Four Win: A Turning Point for College Hockey

Another historic win that cannot be overlooked is Michigan’s first Frozen Four Championship in 1948. This win marked a turning point for college hockey, as it was the first time a non-Canadian team had won a title in the tournament. The University of Michigan hockey team, led by Hall of Famers Wally Gace and Johnny Matchefts, defeated the Dartmouth College hockey team in a 8-4 victory, making their mark in the history books and inspiring generations of college hockey players in Michigan.

Red Berenson: Michigan’s Most Successful Hockey Coach

When it comes to coaching, few can match the success of Red Berenson, who led the University of Michigan hockey team for 33 seasons, from 1984 to 2017. Under his guidance, the Wolverines won two national championships, reached 11 Frozen Four appearances, and boasted 22 consecutive winning seasons. Berenson also produced a record-breaking 60 NHL players, solidifying Michigan’s reputation for developing top talent in the sport of hockey.

In 2018, Berenson was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, cementing his legacy as the most successful coach in Michigan’s hockey history.


From surprising upsets to historic wins, Michigan’s love for hockey is deeply ingrained in the state’s culture and heritage. These memorable moments have not only shaped the history of the state, but also inspired generations of hockey players, coaches, and fans. With a rich tradition of excellence in the sport, Michigan’s legacy in hockey will continue to thrive and be celebrated for years to come.



Stanley Cup,

Red Wings