Friday, August 21, 2020

The Mandela Effect: Six memorable moments that we may not remember quite right

There’s an interesting phenomenon in pop psychology called the Mandela Effect, in which a large number of people tend to remember something incorrectly. Named after South African political leader Nelson Mandela, it’s based on the widely held belief that he died in the 1980s. He didn’t, but lots of people remember that he did, which leads to an interesting case of …

Sigh. Yes, Nelson Mandela. OK, fine, I’ll pause here while you all make your Jonathan Bernier jokes.

Got that out of your system? Cool, because today we’re going to look at some candidates for hockey examples of the Mandela Effect. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that everyone remembers all of these moments the same way. If you remember these moments correctly, cool. You’re certainly not alone. But in my travels around the hockey fan world, I’ve run into repeated cases where memories of these moments aren’t quite right.

That’s always been kind of interesting to me. So today, let’s dig into six famous moments from hockey history that might not have actually happened the way you remember them.

When golden moments aren’t so golden

The memory: We might as well start with what’s no doubt the most famous hockey Mandela moment — the Miracle on Ice, in which an underdog Team USA beat the Soviets for the gold medal in one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports. Millions of fans around the world watched as the final seconds ticked down to Al Michaels’ legendary call of “Do you believe in miracles?” with the American players spilling off the bench to celebrate their golden moment.

The problem: That wasn’t the gold medal game.

OK, I’m guessing you knew that. This is one of those moments where so many fans had it wrong for so many years that by now, we’ve all been corrected. That happens sometimes with these things. The myth that the Miracle on Ice happened in the gold medal game was around for so long that most fans probably believed it at some point, but now we all know the truth. Any real hockey fan can tell you: Team USA still had to beat Finland in the gold medal game two nights later.

Except that’s also wrong.

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