Maine Hockey Journal

Former Pirate earns big honor

It didn’t seem to matter where Jason Christie went. Within a short period of time, he would be a fan favorite, building a rabid following who clamored for more of what he gave.

Heart and plenty of it.

At 5-8, Christie was affectionately known as “Smurf” for his small stature, but that in no way was a reflection of his play. He was rewarded for that effort on Thursday with the announcement of his induction into the Peoria Rivermen Hall of Fame.

Christie had a hard time believing it was true.

“I’ve been trying to get my mind around this all day,” Christie told the Peoria Journal Star. “It’s just starting to sink in. I can’t tell you what an honor this is for me, what it means.”

Christie, 41, a former Portland Pirate, played only one full time season with the Rivermen in 2000 – as a member of the ECHL – where he scored 21 goals 35 assists for 56 points with a 199 penalty minutes as he played a pivotal role in guiding the Rivermen to the Kelly Cup.

It was later reported that he played with a separated shoulder.

The Gibbons, Alberta native retired the following season taking over coaching duties for the Rivermen where he had tremendous success, only missing the playoffs once in his five years behind the bench and winning 233 games, which ranks him tops in franchise history.

Christie spent three seasons, and part of a fourth season with the Pirates. His best season was in 1994-95 where he scored 60 points (20g, 40a) in 71 games.

Christie was recently hired as the new head coach for the Bloomington Prairie Thunder of the Central Hockey League after spending the last two years with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL as an assistant coach with another former Pirate Todd Nelson.

Peoria has said they will honor Christie during an AHL game later this season.

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