BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Jan. 7, 2021 – A key figure in Minnesota Duluth's development as a Division I hockey program, Keith Christiansen has been named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Player of the Decade for the 1960s, presented by Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup and SPIRE Credit Union.
During his career, Christiansen amassed 196 points on 75 goals and 121 assists in 102 games and shared the UMD record for the most points scored in one game when he tallied six assists against Minnesota in the inaugural game at the Duluth Arena. The six helpers is still tied for the most by a WCHA player in a single game.
In 1966-67, "Huffer" earned WCHA Player of the Year, All-WCHA and All-America honors after winning the league's scoring championship with 46 points on 15 goals and 31 assists in UMD's second season as a WCHA member. Other collegiate honors included team MVP as a freshman, junior, and senior and UMD's Outstanding Senior Athlete Award in 1966-67 after he was team captain. In 1988, Christiansen was the first UMD athlete to have his jersey retired.
In international competition, Christiansen represented the United States at the 1969, 1970, and 1971 IIHF World Championships. He was captain and one of the leading scorers for the 1972 silver medal-winning United States Olympic Team in Sapporo, Japan.
Following the Olympic Games, Christiansen went on to play professional hockey and was signed by the Minnesota Fighting Saints in the newly formed World Hockey Association. He retired from hockey in 1975 after helping the Fighting Saints to the WHA playoffs in 1972-73 and 1973-74.
The Fort Frances, Ont., native became a charter member of the University of Minnesota Duluth, Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991, was honored as one of the "Top 50 Players in 50 Years" of the WCHA in 2002 and was inducted into the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.
Christiansen is the second of seven Player of the Decade honorees that will be announced by the WCHA during the 2020-21 season. The WCHA is also honoring an outstanding coach and selecting an All-Decade Team for each decade as the league celebrates 70 Years of Excellence.
Other Top Players of the 1960s
Bill Masterton, F, Denver (1958-61): Two-time All-American (1960, 1961) … Two-time All-WCHA (1960, 1961) … Member of two national championship squads at Denver … Scored 196 points on 66 goals and 130 assists during his career. Keith Magnuson, D, Denver (1966-69): Two-time All-American (1968, 1969) … Three-time All-WCHA (1967, 1968, 1969) … Two-time NCAA All-Tournament selection (1968, 1969) and the 1969 NCAA Tournament MOP. Red Berenson, F, Michigan (1959-62): Two-time All-American (1961, 1962) … Two-time All-WCHA (1961, 1962) … 1962 WCHA Most Valuable Player … 1961-62 WCHA Scoring Champion … Set a Michigan single-season school record that still stands today with 43 goals in 1961-62. Tony Esposito, G, Michigan Tech (1964-67): Three-time All-WCHA honoree (1965, 1966, 1967) … Only netminder in WCHA history to win three league goaltending championships … Earned NCAA All-Tournament honors as a member of Michigan Tech's 1965 NCAA championship squad. Lou Nanne, D, Minnesota (1960-63): Earned All-America and All-WCHA honors as the Gophers' team captain in 1962-63 … Named WCHA Player of the Year in 1962-63 after winning the WCHA Scoring Championship … Only blueliner in WCHA history to win an outright league scoring championship.
Previous WCHA Player of the Decade Winners
1950s: John Mayasich, Minnesota
For more on the 1960s and the rest of the WCHA's history, visit our 70 Years of Excellence Page.
Celebrating 70 Years of Excellence
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association will celebrate 70 Years of Excellence throughout the 2020-21 season. The league will name all-decade teams and players and coaches of the decade for each of its seven decades. The teams and individuals will be selected by a panel of current and former WCHA staffers and media members who have or are currently covering the WCHA. More than 200 nominees were submitted for consideration by the 21 schools that have called the WCHA home since 1951.
About Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup
Anderson's Maple Syrup Inc. is proud to continue its 90-year tradition of producing, processing, and packaging consistently high-quality pure maple syrup, organic pure maple syrup, and other maple products. For more information, visit Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup.
About Spire Credit Union
Founded in 1934, SPIRE Credit Union's commitment to friendly, personal and genuine service remains today. Founded as Twin Cities Co-ops Credit Union, SPIRE strives to improve lives through banking with a purpose as one of Minnesota's top credit unions. For more information, SPIRE Credit Union.
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Men's League
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, among the most historic, tradition-rich and successful conferences in all of collegiate athletics, is marking its 69th season of men's competition in 2020-21. The 10-team NCAA Division I conference consists of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Chargers), the University of Alaska Anchorage (Seawolves), the University of Alaska (Nanooks), Bemidji State University (Beavers), Bowling Green State University (Falcons), Ferris State University (Bulldogs), Lake Superior State University (Lakers), Michigan Technological University (Huskies), Minnesota State University (Mavericks) and Northern Michigan University (Wildcats). For more information, visit wcha.com.