Mention the name Steve Christoff, and hockey trivia buffs will no doubt identify him as one of the heroes of the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. After playing two years in the NCAA with the University of Minnesota, Christoff joined a team of young, unknown American college players and went on to shock the Soviets and the rest of the world, by winning the 1980 Olympic gold medal. Christoff, who scored 37 goals and 64 points in as many games for the U.S. National Team, was certainly one of the more gifted goal scorers on that young, inexperienced club.
Christoff was selected in the second round of the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft, 24th overall, by the Minnesota North Stars. It seemed his life could be no better. He grew up in hockey crazy Minnesota, starred for his home state's university hockey team, won an Olympic gold medal, and was now going to have the opportunity to play professional hockey there as well.
After the Olympics, Christoff joined the North Stars for 20 games, scoring eight goals and 15 points. The next year, he suited up for 56 games, netting 26 goals and 39 points. In 1981-82, he appeared in 69 games, scoring 26 goals and 55 points, a career high.
Although he was an extremely popular figure in Minnesota, Christoff was in Calgary for the 1982-83 season, but he was used in just 45 games, scoring nine goals and 17 points. In 1983-84, Christoff played his final season in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings, starting 58 games, scoring eight goals and 15 points. Christoff ended his NHL career having played in 248 games, scoring 77 goals and 141 points.
Christoff was one of three players from the 1980 Olympic team to have been drafted by the Minnesota North Stars, the others being Neil Broten and Phil Verchota.
With the return of NHL hockey to Minnesota with the creation of the Wild in 2000, the club honored former state players such as Christoff, fellow Olympian Neal Broten and Tom Reid, all one-time members of the North Stars, during a pre-game ceremony.