One would be hard pressed to name any individual who has been a member of more U.S. international hockey teams than Dr. V. George Nagobads. While he was born in Riga, Latvia, and spent the first quarter century of his life in Europe, he became one of the greatest influencers of American hockey of his time.
After receiving his medical degree from University of Tubingen in Germany, Nagobads moved to the United States in 1951 to begin his surgical residency at the Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis.
He eventually served as a team physician for the University of Minnesota men's ice hockey team beginning in 1958 and lasting until his retirement in 1992. In 1978, Minnesota Coach Herb Brooks took the trophy Nagobads donated to the program and established the annual Dr. V. George Nagobads Unsung Hero Award.
Simultaneous to his duties with the Gophers, Nagobads was the team physician for the World Hockey Association's Minnesota Fighting Saints from 1973-76 and the National Hockey League's Minnesota North Stars from 1984-92.
His largest contributions to hockey in the United States may have come on the international stage, however. Nagobads was named the team physician for five U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Teams (1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988); including the "Miracle on Ice" squad that won the gold medal at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., and the silver medal-winning 1972 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team that competed in Sapporo, Japan.
Nagobads served as the team physician for 15 U.S. Men's National Teams (1967, 1970-71, 1973-75, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1985-87, 1989-90), including the 1970 and 1974 squads that won the gold medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Hockey Championship in Pool B and the silver medal-winning 1973 team. He also served as team physician for the first-ever U.S. Women's National Team that won the silver medal at the 1990 IIHF World Women's Championship.
In addition, Nagobads was the team physician for five U.S. National Junior Teams (1974, 1985-87, 1989); the 1988 U.S. Under-17 Select Team; the 1989 Spengler Cup Team; and the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup squads.
In 1984, Nagobads became USA Hockey's chief medical officer, a title he held until 1992. He was also appointed to USA Hockey's Safety and Protective Equipment Committee in 1984, and was named to the IIHF's Medical Committee in 1990.
In 2003, Nagobads received the Paul Loicq Award from the IIHF for serving international hockey in an extraordinary manner and promoting ice hockey worldwide. He was also honored by USA Hockey with both its Distinguished Achievement Award and Excellence in Safety Award in 2005.