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Acting a ‘Miracle’ job for Eddie Cahill

Not every actor grew up thinking that someday they would make a living starring on TV shows or in films. Eddie Cahill has become a TV star with his work as Detective Don Flack on the CBS procedural drama “CSI: NY.” But, when he was growing up in New York, Cahill wanted to one day either be a police officer or a famous hockey player.

In one way, he’s done both.

“Getting to play a cop satisfies a fantasy in one way,” Cahill tells me at a CBS press party. “My job and what a real police officer does couldn’t be more different. But, I love playing this character because he’s really grown through the years.”

On a show like “CSI:NY,” the majority of the program is devoted to examining clues. Cahill’s role is one of the few on the show where the writers have explored his home life. That gives the actor more to use in playing the character.

As for the hockey part, Cahill portrayed Jim Craig in the 2004 feature film “Miracle,” the story of the win by the United States hockey team over the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

“I always wanted to play hockey when I was growing up. ‘Miracle’ satisfied my hockey fantasy,” Cahill says.

Cahill didn’t start playing hockey until he was in his mid-20s and it happened almost by accident. He was working in Canada on “Glory Days” and the costume designer on the show had a bag of hockey gear left over from working on “Slap Shot 2.” Cahill bought some of the extra gear and continues to use it today.

“Miracle” also gave Cahill an experience he’ll never have on the TV show. For one scene in the movie, 5,000 extras were crammed into a small arena. As Cahill and his fellow actors took the ice as members of that now historic Olympic team, the crowd greeted them with a thunderous ovation.

“It took me a good five minutes to get my knees right,” Cahill says. “I was really breathing deep.”