Joe Cure, a Bloomington kid who landed a role playing a Minnesota hockey standout in the 2004 movie “Miracle,” died over the weekend while driving in his adopted home state of Montana.
Cure, 31, portrayed Mike Ramsey in the movie about Team USA’s victory over the Soviet Union on the way to the 1980 gold medal in the Lake Placid Winter Olympics.
Cure, who was living in Bozeman, Mont., and attending Montana State University as a graduate student in neuroscience, was driving Sunday in the high elevations of southwestern Montana when his vehicle slid on a slick highway and rolled over several times. Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson said Cure was dead at the scene. A woman with Cure, fellow MSU student Hannah Wolf, 21, was initially treated where she works, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, for critical injuries and has since been flown to Seattle for surgery.
One of three siblings who grew up playing hockey, Cure started at age 5 and made the top bantam team before entering high school. The pinnacle of his playing career came in 2002, when he and the rest of the Academy of Holy Angels team won the Class AA state hockey tournament.
From there, he played junior hockey in Texas. Hollywood was next, and he auditioned for a role in “Miracle” on his home ice in Bloomington. Like nearly all of those seeking a part as a skater, Cure had no acting experience.
“I’m out in L.A., auditioning and pretending to be an actor, hoping somebody buys it,” Cure said in a 2004 interview with the student newspaper at Baylor University, where he attended before shooting for the movie began.
The biggest of scenes, understandably, centered on team captain Mike Eruzione, goalie Jim Craig and head coach Herb Brooks. Cure’s most memorable line — and the movie’s shortest — came when Brooks (portrayed by Kurt Russell) stormed into the locker room between periods in a preliminary game at the Olympics:
Brooks: “This is unbelievable. You guys are playing like this is some throwaway game up in Rochester. Who we playing, Rammer?”
Herb Brooks: “Yeah. You’re damn right, Sweden! In the Olympics!”
In an interview last year with the Minnesota youth magazine Let’s Play Hockey, Cure said, “The story of ‘Miracle’ is truly a love story about 20 young boys coming together and taking on the world. … Being a part of ‘Miracle’ forever changed the way I view the Olympics.”
Mary Cure said her son was called on to lace up for all of the skating scenes. “He was constantly on the ice,” she said. “He was the youngest and just finished playing high school.”
One notable skating scene was when Brooks had the team doing “Herbies” after a particularly poor performance in an exhibition game. The actors accurately re-created that dose of marathon discipline. “The director apologized to them beforehand,” Mary Cure said.
Cure’s sister, Kelly, also played hockey for Holy Angels, as did brother Randy, who later skated for Div. I Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and is now a minor league player in Tulsa, Okla.
In the fatal crash, Cure was driving on Hwy. 287, where the pavement was dry but soon became slick as his vehicle crested after climbing, Thompson said.
The vehicle “rolled very violently,” breaking off two wheels on the same side, the sheriff said.
“He wouldn’t have seen the change in driving conditions coming,” Thompson said. “It becomes a sheet of ice. …”
Along with his mother, sister and brother, Cure is survived by his father, Bob. Services are at 11 a.m. Saturday at Pax Christi Catholic Church, 12100 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie. Visitation begins one hour prior. Memorials are preferred to Academy of Holy Angels Scholarship Fund.