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Christian describes longest 10 minutes on the ice

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Former University of North Dakota hockey player, 1980 Olympic gold medalist and 15-year National Hockey Leaguer Dave Christian, left, poses with Dickinson family Erica, Lane and Lucas Brengle during an autograph signing on Wednesday at Menards in Dickinson.

Though it was 34 years ago, Dave Christian remembers the longest 10 minutes of his life on the ice.

Christian and the 1980 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team defeated the Soviet Union 4-3 in Lake Placid, N.Y. The game is referred to as the “Miracle on Ice.”

“It’s hard to believe it has been 34 years,” said Christian, who had an assist during the game against the Soviet Union. “Time flies by. I can remember the longest 10 minutes of our lives, especially the longest 10 minutes of any game we’ve ever played in the ending of the Soviet game.”

The U.S. went on to win the Olympic gold medal after defeating Finland 4-2.

Winning a gold medal was a dream Christian held since he was a kid. His father, Bill, and uncle, Roger, were members of the 1960 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team that won a gold medal in Squaw Valley, Calif.

“As a young kid growing up, I wanted to have a gold medal of my own,” said Christian, who is a native of Warroad, Minn., and a former University of North Dakota men’s hockey player. “I was able to realize that dream. It was the highlight of my career.”

One week after winning a gold medal, Christian went to the National Hockey League where we played for five teams over the next 15 years.

During his time in the NHL, Christian played for the Winnipeg Jets, Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. In 1,009 games played, he posted 340 goals and 433 assists. Christian’s highest point total during his NHL career was with the Capitals in the 1985-86 season when he supplied 42 assists and 41 goals.

“It was a big thrill and big honor to go from that final game in Lake Placid and play my first game with the Winnipeg Jets a week later,” he said.

Christian signed autographs and took pictures with fans at Menards during the Dickinson store’s grand-opening week.

Mark Kerr, general manager of Menards, said it was an honor to have Christian.

“He let me hold his gold medal and it struck me as, ‘What an honor to let me just hold his medal,’” Kerr said. “It was a neat feeling. He’s just a great personality.”

Christian hung up the skates after the 1994 season. Since his time in the NHL, he has been working for Cardinal Glass Industries as a technical services engineer.

Christian’s memories of winning a gold medal in 1980 are even more prevalent today with the 2014 Winter Olympics underway in Sochi, Russia.

“(The memories) certainly come up more every four years,” Christian said. “I have the opportunity to get out and meet some great people, and hear their stories about where people were in 1980. That’s a great feeling to hear people tell where they were.”