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Bob Suter, Miracle on Ice defenseman and father of Wild's Ryan Suter, dies


Robert Allen "Bob" Suter, a member of the historic Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic hockey team and father of current Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, died Tuesday at the age of 57.

Suter, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack while working at the rink he co-owned, Capitol Ice Arena, WISC TV reports. The Star Tribune notes he's the first member of the 1980 team to die.

While arguably best known for being a physical defenseman on the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that upset the USSR and went on to win the gold medal, Suter spent nearly his entire life involved in the sport.

A lifelong Wisconsin hockey staple, Suter was born in Madison in 1957 and went to Madison East High School. He then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his 1977 Badgers team won the NCAA championship.

Suter was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings No. 120 overall in that year's NHL entry draft, and went to play for the Tulsa Oilers of the CHL.

After the 1980 Olympics he rejected a contract from the Kings and took a year off, then in 1981 signed a deal with the Minnesota North Stars. But he didn't play a game in the NHL, instead spending the year with the CHL's Nashville South Stars.

Suter retired in 1982, but coached the Madison Capitols USHL team for two years beginning in 1984.

Afterward he opened up a sporting good store, Suter's Gold Medal Sports, and became part owner and director of Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton.

The Wisconsin State Journal says he helped develop hundreds of young hockey players through the years.

Bob Suter and his wife Beth had five children: Justin, Ryan, Garrett, Jason and Tyler, according to Bob's Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame induction page.

One of those sons, Ryan Suter, is a 29-year-old All-Star defenseman for the Minnesota Wild. The younger Suter played in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and Yahoo! Sports notes the two of them made up one of the few father-son duos to have both played in the games.

"Because my dad's a humble guy, he doesn't talk about it," Ryan Suter said of the Miracle on Ice game, talking with ESPN five years ago. "I still, to this day, haven't seen the game. He said he lent out his game tapes and the people never returned them or they were stolen or something."

Bob Suter's brother Gary played as a defenseman in the NHL for 17 years, and was a five-time All-Star and one-time Stanley Cup champion.

Condolences and well wishes quickly began pouring out on Twitter.

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