Local Hockey Heroes In Legal Battle Over Olympic Jerseys

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two of Minnesota’s greatest Olympic gold medalists are locked in bitter international battle to get their Olympic jerseys returned from Canada.

Dave Christian of Moorhead was on the U.S.A. 1980 Olympic Hockey team that shocked the world and won a gold medal.

His dad, Bill, was on the only  other U.S.A. Olympic Hockey gold medal team in 1960. Their Olympic jerseys are in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The Christians want them back, the Canadians are saying  no and the origin of the dispute goes back 30 years.

In 1981 Bill Christian received a call  from the Hockey Hall of Fame. The hall wanted to display both of their jerseys. At the time, both jerseys were hanging in a closet at Bill Christian’s Warroad home. Bill Christian said he believed he was loaning the jerseys to the hall.

“I thought they were just going to display them  never dreaming they would be gone forever,” Bill said.

Over the past six months, the Christian’s have been trying to get their jerseys back.

“Why now it would be nice to get my jersey back in my possession before something happens to me,” said Bill.

“I would like to pass on those jerseys to my children,” Dave said.

The Hockey  Hall of Fame has told the Christians the jerseys now belong to the hall.

“It’s our viewpoint that the sweaters were donated in 1981 in a legally effective manner and they are now the property of the Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Hall Curator Phil Pritchard.

At the heart of this dispute is a 1981 letter from the Hockey Hall of Fame to Bill Christian thanking Christian for “the donation” of the jerseys. In 1981, Bill was busy running the  Christian Brothers Hockey stick company in Warroad. Bill Christian said he paid little attention to the letter.

“I just took it that good, they arrived safely. I never took it as a legal deal they should keep the jerseys,” said Bill.

“The mistake that was made was not to question the wording of the letter, the receipt of the letter that the Hall had sent in 1981. My dad is not an attorney,” said Dave.

At the time Bill Christian sent the jerseys to the hall, Dave Christian was just beginning his 15-year professional career. He vaguely remembers his father telling him he had sent the jerseys to Toronto.

“I never gave my jersey to the hall. I never gave my jersey to anyone. I want my jersey back,” said Dave.

The Hockey Hall of Fame has sent the Christian’s a letter saying they are ready to fight a legal battle over the jerseys.

“I think it’s wrong for them to keep threatening a legal battle over this. “We are going to fight for them,” said Bill.

Whatever happens, the Christian’s know what they did in those USA jerseys can never be taken away.

“Where the jerseys are, where they hang and where they are displayed won’t change the outcome,” said Dave.

The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto has no connection to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth.

More from Esme Murphy
  • fucandana

    Pull an OJ and steal them back!

  • HDMC

    jeez.. Who cares?! They’re gone, accept it. Your jersey is safe where it is and on display in a respectable manner, which is way cooler that handing your stupid kids a smelly jersey that they would undoubtedly one day pawn for a hundred bucks just to be on Pawn Stars.

    • Grow Up

      If you really don’t care, why are you making stupid comments? If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t have read the article and felt the need to be such a jack hole. You sound like a bitter, sad and lonely person. Try out for the team and fail??

    • wade

      What’s wrong with being on Pawn Stars? I was on there with my “Miracle” signed hockey stick and DIDN”T sell it.

    • hockey15

      I care, i happen to be friends with Dave’s daughter and it would mean the world and more to her if she got that passed down to her or any of her siblings for that matter. Hockey is a huge part of their family, so how about instead of coming on here and making yourself look like an idiot about something you have no clue on, you just stay off of here. thanks.

  • Alstry

    HDMC….you must be Canadian

    • Rockfish

      No, if he were Canadian he would have called it a sweater. He is just a non fan with nothing to do.

  • tom

    The rightful thing to do is to return the Jerseys to the Christians, those jerseys belong to them, they have nothing to do with Canada, and everything to do with the US of A, But what do you expect from Socialism in that country. Take what is not yours.

  • Kristen Van Nispen Gordon

    Your friendsKristen Van Nispen Gordon
    Dear Canadian Hockey Hall Of Fame
    Please return the Christianson’s Miracle On ICE Jersey’s in the same friendly spirit they were loaned to you with over a decade ago. That is all.

    P.S. Shame ,Shame on you !!!!!!!

  • http://trendnewstoday.com/2011/10/29/us-olympic-heroes-vs-hockey-hall-of-fame-who-owns-history/ US Olympic heroes vs. Hockey Hall of Fame: Who owns history? – News Today

    […] From WCCO in Minnesota, here’s a news clip that covers the basics of the dispute: […]

  • http://www.faceoffnews.com/?p=754 U.S. Olympic heroes vs. Hockey Hall of Fame: Who owns history? « Fantasy Hockey News – FaceoffNews

    […] From WCCO in Minnesota, here’s a news clip that covers the basics of the dispute: […]

  • http://ty.hirenelvisdhara.infiniteserve.com/?p=632 US Olympic heroes vs. Hockey Hall of Fame: Who owns history? | My Blog

    […] From WCCO in Minnesota, here’s a news clip that covers the basics of the dispute: […]

  • papijump online

    Tremendous issues here. I am very glad to see your post. Thank you so much and I’m looking ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live