Chris Fridfinnson

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At Antwerp 1920, Kristjan “Chris” Fridfinnson played hockey for the gold medal winning Canadian team that was represented by the Winnipeg Falcons who had just defeated the University of Toronto for the Canadian Championships Allan Cup. The invitation to the Olympics came so late that the team left immediately for their trip overseas. Fridfinnson scored the winning goal in the game which decided the gold medal.

Fridfinnson first played hockey with the Young Men’s Lutheran Club prior to joining the Winnipeg Falcons from 1915-22 (except during World War I, when he played for the Winnipeg Vimy and the Winnipeg Monarchs). He left the Falcons when he fell ill but later started coaching, first with the Edmonton Enarcos (1929-30) and then at the University of Alberta (1930-1932).

Working as an office boy, Fridfinnson became a bookkeeping clerk at Dominion Bank and Drewrys Limited. In the late 1920s, he moved to Edmonton where he refereed local hockey leagues before returning to Winnipeg, where he occasionally officiated games. He married his wife Molly Zielkie and together they had one daughter. Fridfinnson died in Selkirk in 1938 at the age of 40, the first of the 1920 Olympic champions to pass away.

In 2014, the Winnipeg Falcons were honoured in a Heritage Minute short film by Heritage Canada. Permanent displays honouring the Falcons and their Olympic victory are at The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame and Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. In recognition of the their achievement, Hockey Canada had the national junior team wear replicas of the famous old gold and black Falcons uniforms for a 2004 World Junior Championship pre-tournament game in Winnipeg.

Along with members of the Winnipeg Falcons, Fridfinnson was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985 and Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2006.

Faits saillants olympiques

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