GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The University of North Dakota Athletics Department is saddened by the passing of UND men's hockey pioneer and Olympian Gordon “Ginny” Christian, who passed away on Friday at the age of 89 in his hometown of Warroad, Minn.
Christian joined the UND men's hockey program in 1947-48, just the program's second year of varsity competition. Over the next three seasons, he accumulated 62 goals and 105 points in 58 games and became the school's first player to score 100 career points. Christian tied for the team scoring lead in each of his first two seasons and ranked third in both points (40) and goals (25) in his third and final campaign. He was voted team MVP by his teammates in 1948-49.
Christian was a member of the 1947-48 Fighting Sioux team that scored a historic upset victory at the University of Michigan, scoring two goals in a 6-5 win that was widely regarded as the program's most significant to that point. During his three seasons at UND, Christian led the program to a 35-23-3 record.
“Ginny will be missed, but he will always be remembered by his North Dakota hockey family,” said UND head coach Brad Berry. “UND men's hockey was a big part of his life and we are truly grateful for all he did for our program. We will always honor him, as he was instrumental in the growth and success of North Dakota hockey.”
Following his collegiate career, Christian went on to represent the United States three times in international competition. He won a silver medal at the 1956 Olympics in Italy and also competed for Team USA at the 1955 and 1985 World Championships.
Christian was inducted into the UND Athletics Letterwinners Association Hall of Fame in 1980. He is also a member of the Warroad High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Olympic Wall of Fame.
He was also a recipient of the UND men's Hockey Sioux Legends Award, bestowed upon alumni who have, throughout their lives, demonstrated an unwavering commitment of service to others, high levels of achievement throughout one's chosen career or profession, leadership capability, and loyalty to the program through the generosity of time, talents and resources.
Christian is survived by wife Emma, children Gordon (Jodee) of Eagan, Minn., Steven (Stephanie) of Grand Forks, N.D.; five grandchildren, Peter (Laura), Emily (Kyle), Samuel, Abigail (Jace), Nicholas; brother William of Naples, Fla., and sister Sharon of Seattle, Wash. His son, Steve, is a former UND golf letterwinner and coach.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Warroad Veterans Memorial Park or to Zion Lutheran Church.
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