Roger Christian, a member of the famed Warroad hockey family who starred for the gold medal-winning U.S. hockey team at the 1960 Winter Olympics, died Wednesday. He was 75.
Christian and his brother, Billy, were teammates on the 1960 team and partners in forming Christian Brothers, a hockey stick-manufacturing company in their hometown at the top of the state known as "Hockeytown USA."
Roger Christian played on five U.S. national teams and is in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
In the 1960 gold medal game at Squaw Valley, Calif., he scored four goals in the USA's 9-4 victory over Czechoslovakia.
In that Olympics, USA earned its first victory against the Soviet Union, 3-2, with Roger assisting on two goals by Billy.
As the 1980 "Miracle" USA team gained acclaim with its improbable gold medal run at the Lake Placid Games, the 1960 squad took on the mantle as the nation's "Forgotten Miracle" team. The 1980 team included Dave Christian, Billy's son and Roger's nephew.
Like many Minnesota youngsters of his day, Roger Christian began his early years in hockey playing four to five hours or more on the river and on outdoor rinks.
He and Billy used magazines for shin pads and hockey sticks made by their father. The two would sometimes share skates, trading off every half-hour.
In high school, Roger Christian was the team's leading scorer in 1952. The next year, he led the Warriors to the State Tournament, losing to powerhouse St. Paul Johnson in the final, 4-1.
Roger Christian is survived by his wife, Jean, and sons Roger Jr., Ryan and Rick. A funeral is scheduled for Monday at Zion Lutheran Church in Warroad.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482