Miracle Monday: Steve Christoff

Miracle Monday
Okay, how great is that picture? Have you ever seen such joy on a person's face?! Bill Baker is such a gem. :) But, moving on, because today is not about Bill Baker. Today is about a dude who is a total frickin' badass and not nearly appreciated as he should be. Are you excited yet? Because you should be!

Steve Christoff

FUN FACTS:

+ Steve was an absolute beast of a hockey player in high school. He was the guy that opposing coaches knew their team had to control if they wanted to win. He was powerful, talented and ridiculously hyper-competitive, and had an absolutely lethal slap shot, all of which combined to make him all but unstoppable. He led his high school team to the program's only state championship appearance ever.

+ Herb heavily recruited Steve to the University of Minnesota, which is where he ended up attending. He joined the Gophers in 1976 and won the NCAA championship in 1979. He continued his unstoppable ways in college and as a man of few words, he let his stats do the talking. He averaged almost two points per game in his sophomore and junior years and was named team MVP as a sophomore. But beyond all of this, Steve's legacy will pretty much live forever. Remember how Neal Broten won the inaugural Hobey Baker Award in 1981? Well, Steve here was the model for the trophy. So every year, the best collegiate hockey player in the country gets a 40-inch bronze statue of Steve Christoff. And if you don't think that's the greatest thing ever, you can go away!

+ Steve's complete baller status earned him a spot on the Olympic team, and he proceeded to absolutely tear it up there as well. In the pre-Olympic season, he was the team's leading goal scorer (though Mark Johnson had more total points), with 35 goals and 26 assists (61 points) in 56 games. His production slowed down in the Olympic tournament, though, where he scored two goals and one assist (three points) in seven games. But he DID score the first U.S. goal in the gold medal game (literally as a Finnish power play was expiring, so it was essentially short-handed).

+ After the Olympics, Steve signed with the Minnesota North Stars (who had drafted him in 1978) and was on the ice with them just days after winning Olympic gold. In the remaining 20 games of the 1980 season, he scored eight goals and seven assists. The North Stars made it to the semifinals of the Stanley Cup playoffs that season, and Steve scored eight goals in the postseason alone, setting the team record for playoff goals scored by a rookie. He had two more solid seasons with the North Stars before being traded. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury robbed him of that monster slap shot that made him so dangerous, so after two seasons with three other franchises, he retired in 1984.

+ With his hockey career finished, Steve enrolled in flight school. For the last few decades he's worked as a commercial pilot for Minneapolis-based Mesaba Airlines, flying to various places around the midwest. While he's not involved with sports anymore and mostly keeps out of the limelight, his wife Anna was an elite handball player for several decades, and was just inducted into the Minnesota Handball Hall of Fame this year. Talk about an athletic power couple!

Does this dude totally slay at life or what? If you're not convinced, take a peek at that slap shot I was talking about. Lethal.


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