Roger Christian (ice hockey)
December 1, 1935|
Warroad, Minnesota, USA
|Died||November 9, 2011
Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA
|Height||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Weight||150 lb (68 kg; 10 st 10 lb)|
|Played for||Huntington Hornets
|National team||United States|
|Olympic medal record|
|Men's ice hockey|
|Representing the United States|
|1960 Squaw Valley||Ice hockey|
Born in Warroad, Minnesota, Christian played for the American 1960 Winter Olympics and 1964 Winter Olympics ice hockey teams, winning a gold medal in 1960. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. He was also a co-founder of Christian Brother's Hockey Sticks, along with his brother Bill Christian and brother-in-law Hal Bakke.
He died on November 9, 2011 in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
In addition to his brothers, Roger Christian’s survivors include his wife, Jean; his sons, Roger Jr., Rick and Ryan; a sister, Sharon Ausman; and eight grandchildren.
Roger began playing hockey at a young age like most kids who were living in Warroad, Minnesota. He would play on the roads, lakes, and outdoor rinks with his friends for up to five hours each day. Growing up he and brother, Billy, would use magazines as padding. They only had one pair of skates between the two of them and would share that pair each time they would go skating. Once growing out of the outdoor phase he began to play organized hockey at Warroad High School. He began playing at Warroad in 1950 and was the leading scorer within two years. During the 1953 season Roger led Warroad to the State Tournament. He was later selected to the All-State Team, and was named All Region twice.
He then began to play international hockey for the U.S. In 1958 he led the U.S. National team in scoring, under Coach Cal Marvin and Manager Don Clark. Roger played together with Billy and a third brother, Gordon, on the 1958 United States national team. Roger played on the renowned Gold Medal winning Olympic Team, alongside his brother. He would go on to play on five U.S. National teams altogether.
After that Roger went on to play for nearly 20 years with his hometown Warroad Lakers, an amateur dynasty, where his number 7 Jersey was later retired from the Lakers roster in 1974.
Once finishing up the Olympics after receiving gold medals, the two Christian brothers returned to their hometown of Warroad. The brothers were determined to make hockey a living. This is where Christian Brothers Hockey Stick Manufacturing began. The idea of this business was to produce a line of customized American hockey sticks. The slogan for this company was, “Hockey Sticks by Hockey Players.” This worked well for the brothers because they were well known in their community and the hockey community as a whole. They refurbished an old building off of the highway Warroad and this was home to the first Christian Brother hockey stick plant.
In the early years of the company they saw success and expanded into a new stick manufacturing plant in Warroad. They officially moved to this new plant in 1969 and operated there for many years. The official Christian Bros sticks were a well-known stick company in Minnesota and every young player wanted to play the game with one of these sticks. During the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games the family's name was enhanced. Roger’s nephew Dave Christian led the U.S. team in assists and brought another gold medal to Warroad. This was not only a great accomplishment for Dave but this was beneficial for the family's company. After this, sales boomed to up to 40% more sticks. This was mainly because Dave was using a Christian Bros stick while he successfully received the gold medal.
Shortly after this success the company had a bit of a downfall because of the rising Canadian companies. The two brothers had to sell the company in 2002 because they could no longer compete with the newer companies and their prices.
- "Olympic gold medalist Roger Christian dies". bizjournals. November 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-13.