Dave Silk was born in Scituate, Massachusetts, and raised in Scituate and Cohasset, Massachusetts. He attended Thayer Academy in Braintreethen moved to Boston University where he became teammates and lifelong friends with future Miracle on Ice members Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig, and Jack O'Callahan. He won the NCAA Championship in 1978 with Boston University, and was awarded New England Rookie of the Year 1976–1977.
His professional career, which spanned 13 years, included 249 NHL regular season games with the Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers. Silk is most famous for being a member of the 1980 US Men's hockey team that won the gold medal at the Olympics in Lake Placid.