Despite that, several members of that Canadian team enjoyed success in hockey and life afterward. Here's a look at where some of the key players are now:
Canada's best player at the Olympics, and the youngest at 19 years old, went on to a Hall of Fame career, mostly with the Edmonton Oilers, and won the Stanley Cup six times. Anderson lives in New York City now and occasionally takes part in retired players games.
Nill, who scored against the Soviet Union, played 524 NHL games before working in the Senators' and Red Wings' front offices. Nill won four Cups as a Detroit executive and is now in his second season as general manager of the Dallas Stars.
MacLean played in parts of 11 NHL seasons, with the Winnipeg Jets, Red Wings and St. Louis Blues. He served as an assistant to Mike Babcock in Anaheim and Detroit before coaching the Ottawa Senators. He was fired in December.
The captain in 1980 turned down a lucrative deal with the New York Rangers to play at the Olympics. He later won five Cups with the Oilers. After retiring, Gregg became a doctor and currently works at the Edmonton Sport Institute.
Canada's second-line centre turned down a minor-league contract with the Oilers to go back to the University of Alberta. He never made the NHL but found success as an accountant and is a partner in the Edmonton firm Pennock Acheson Nielsen Devaney.
The defenceman played 741 NHL games for the Jets and Los Angeles Kings and spent one year as a Boston Bruins assistant coach. Watters went into real estate and currently works for the commercial firm CBRE in Arizona.
One of the team's three coaches along with Clare Drake and Lorne Davis, Watt has spent the decades since coaching and managing in the NHL, winning the Cup in 1989 as a Calgary Flames assistant. He's now a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Talked out of retirement by Father David Bauer to play in 1980, O'Malley was the oldest member of the Canadian team at age 39. O'Malley never made the NHL but is in the IIHF Hall of Fame and is an assistant for the University of Regina's women's team.
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