Central Hockey League fans can breathe a little easier now that one of their greats has signed on for another season. Jeff Christian will enter his 21st season in professional hockey and his sixth in the CHL as a member of the Mississippi (Memphis) Riverkings.
Christian played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 1987-88 to 1989-90. He began his OHL career with the London Knights and played with the green and gold until midway through his senior year when he went north to finish out his career with the Owen Sound Platers. Jeff was, and still is, a unique hockey player that is rugged yet has a talent around the net. During his OHL career, he netted 75 regular season goals and also sat out 579 minutes in the sin bin.
Jeff was taken by the New Jersey Devils in the second round of the 1988 NHL draft, 23rd overall. He did get a chance to play two games with the Devils and along the way played a total of 18 games in the NHL with the Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins and Phoenix Coyotes.
His unique ability to be an enforcer and a goal scorer shone through in the old IHL. In 1996-97 with the Cleveland Lumberjacks, Jeff scored 40 goals while sitting out 262 minutes. Two seasons later with the Houston Aeros, he improved on the goals mark with 45 and sat out 252.
Christian makes a mark with whatever team he is playing for:
1993-94, Albany River Rats – AHL. Team leader in goals with 34.
1996-97, Cleveland Lumberjacks – IHL. Team leader in goals (40), points (80) and PIM (262).
1998-99, Houston Aeros – IHL. Team leader in goals (45) and PIM (252).
1999-00, Cleveland Lumberjacks – IHL. Team leader in goals (29).
2000-01, Krefeld Pinguine – DEL. Team leader in PIM (205).
2001-02, Krefeld Pinguine – DEL. Team leader in PIM (116) and one goal from the team lead with 31.
2005-06, Youngstown Steelhounds – CHL. Team lead in goals (55) and points (107).
2006-07, Youngstown Steelhounds – CHL. Team lead in assists (78) and points (116).
2007-08, Tulsa Oilers – CHL. Team lead in assists (59) and points (83).
2008-09, Tulsa Oilers – CHL. Team lead in assists (49) and points (76).
2009-10, Missouri Mavericks – CHL. Team lead in goals (29), assists (49) and points (78) in just 55 games.
With the Youngstown Steelhounds, Jeff captained the team for two of the three seasons in the franchises short history. Christian will forever be the Youngstown Steelhounds all-time goal scoring leader.