Walter Bush, Minneapolis, MN
For more than 50 years, Walter L. Bush Jr. was the heart and soul of American hockey. After playing at Dartmouth University, the Minneapolis-native returned home and earned his law degree at the University of Minnesota. While playing in an amateur league, his legal expertise was called on to negotiate a matter with USA hockey, and so began his long tenure working to develop the sport at every level — from the ice to the back office. “More than anything, my dad was one of the world’s most devoted volunteers,” recalls his son Steve. “He got into amateur hockey in a big way around 1957, after the Olympics. He attended every winter Olympics until 2014 to represent his country and the sport he loved so much.”
Bush went on to manage the 1959 national and the 1964 Olympic teams, and became the president of USA Hockey from 1986 to 2003. As president, Bush advocated for the addition of women’s hockey as an Olympic sport for many years before it became a reality at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, where the US beat the Canadians for their first gold medal. Bush was behind the hiring of Herb Brooks, the coach of legendary 1980 men’s team that beat the favored Soviets at the height of the Cold War before the US went on to beat Finland in the gold medal game. Bush is portrayed in Miracle, the 2004 feature film about the team. “There’s a letter in the sale that’s signed from Herb, which is a big deal because it’s from 1980,” notes Steve.
Bush met his first wife, Steve’s late mother, Mary Relf, sailing in Lake Calhoun as a teen. She went on to travel the country skating with the ice follies, and her likeness is captured in a black and white photo in the collection. Steve recalls that much of the crystal in the sale came from his parents’ trip to Czechoslovakia while his father was managing the 1959 national team. The achievement that brought him the most pride, however? “Bringing the North Stars to Minneapolis,” Steve recalls. His family watched with pride as their father received well-deserved inductions into the US Hockey Hall of Fame (1980), the Hockey Hall of Fame (2000) and the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of fame (2009).
Vintage USA Ice Hockey Bomber Jacket by Powers MFG Co.
Herb Brooks Signed Print After Paul Conrad's Illustration of U.S. Hockey Team
1959 Ice Hockey World Championship Commemorative Glass Trophy
United States Hockey Hall of Fame 18K Yellow Gold Diamond Spinel Ring
"Miracle" Movie Poster Signed by 1980 U.S. Men's Gold Medal Olympic Hockey Team
2004 Athens Greece U.S. Olympic Team Medal
1969-70 Minnesota North Stars Team Signed Hockey Stick
Vintage Photograph of Walter Bush, Jr. and USA Hockey Player Bill Reichart
Commemorative Framed Walter Bush Minnesota North Stars Hockey Jersey
1996 World Cup of Hockey Championship 14K Yellow Gold Diamond Ring
Rolex Day-Date 18K Yellow Gold and Diamond Dial Bezel Wristwatch
O.B.R. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Hockey Player Decanter
Mock-up Illustration for Minnesota North Stars Logo and Trophy Sketch
1984 Canada Cup USA Hockey Team 10K Yellow Gold Synthetic Ruby Ring
Robert Brown Graphite Drawings on Paper of Male Athletes
Minnesota North Stars 1968-69 Team Signed Hockey Stick
Tim Cortes "Hat Trick of Gold" Print Signed by 1960, 1980 and 1998 Olympic Teams
Minnesota Wild Saint Paul Arena Groundbreaking June 23, 1998 Shovel and Hat
Calgary 1988 US Men's Olympic Hockey Team Cowboy Hat and Boots Uniform
1980s Vintage Gucci Signature Duffle Bag
14K Yellow Gold Tiered Pierced Post Earrings
After Romaine Vintage Photographic Print of Ice Capade Skater Mary Relf
Paolo Gucci Black Leather Wristlet
Set Of Twelve Hawkes Delft Diamond Water Goblets
Minnesota North Stars Etched Glass Decanter
Bronze Sculpture of Hockey Player in Action, Signed
1968 Czechoslovakian Ice Hockey Bronze Medal
Iittala Alvar Aalto Free Form Finnish Tray
German Beyers Crystal Wine Chiller
Reed & Barton "Francis I" Sterling Silver Serving Tray
Men's Ice Hockey Themed Neckties
1997 Olympic Belarus Ice Hockey Three Coin Proof Set
1987 Canada Cup USA Hockey Team Bulova Quartz Wristwatch
1972 National Hockey League All-Star 14K Yellow Gold Star Sapphire Ring
Two 1973 Russian Hockey Sticks
1964 Winter Olympic Commemorative Bronze Medal
Did you ever go with your father to the Olympics?
I got to go to Nagano in 1998 and watch the women win the gold medal. My father was really the godfather of making women’s hockey an Olympic sport – it was initially just going to be an exhibition sport.
Where did he keep all of these pieces?
They were all on display. He had a big glass case that was lit up, as well as a trophy case. His most prized accolade was from B’nai B’rith, from the highest organization for Judaism, for outstanding achievement in the community, which he received when he founded the North Stars. He was one of the few non-Jewish people to receive the award.
Did he think it was crazy that he was portrayed in Miracle?
No, my dad didn’t think anything was crazy. He saw a lot of crazy in his life and he was never shocked!