Slap Shot – The Hanson Brothers

In part-one of this two-parts article, we looked at the impact of French Canadian goaltender Denis Lemieux on the classic movie Slap Shot. While Denis had a huge impact on the movie, none had a bigger impact than the Hanson brothers. Seeing the team sink into mediocrity, player-coach Reggie Dunlop (played by Paul Newman) asked the General Manager to get him some players. The cheap GM, likely following orders from the owner, got him some players alright. Three brothers who fit right in to the 1970’s style of hockey displayed by the Big Bad Boston Bruins and the Broadstreet Bullies Philadelphia Flyers.

Hockey players turned actors Steve and Jeff Carlson were joined by David Hanson and formed the most popular trio of hockey players in a movie to this date. Hanson played 33 games in the NHL and 103 games in the WHA. Steve Carlson played 52 games with the Los Angeles Kings and 173 games in the WHA, where his claim to fame was to be Wayne Gretzky‘s roommate on the road during the Great One’s rookie season with the Edmonton Oilers. Jeff Carlson‘s hockey peak was the seven games he’s played in the WHA. Here are the characters they played:

  • Jack Hanson (played by David Hanson) – #16 Left Wing, age 19
  • Steve Hanson (played by Steve Carlson) – #17 Center, age 20
  • Jeff Hanson (played by Jeff Carlson) – #18 Right Wing, age 18

In this first scene, coach Dunlop goes to the bus depot to pick up his new players… and it’s not what he expected at all.

It took a while for Reggie to trust the Hansons and to give them their first shift and what a shift it was! The looks of their teammates says it all throughout this scene.

In spite of their rugged style of play, the Hanson brothers were easy to coach, always had their coach’s back and believed in traditions… including the national anthem.

Their prowesses didn’t stop on the ice. If you messed with them as a spectator, they would hold you accountable for your actions as some fans quickly figured out!

Here’s an excerpt of a short segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

Slap Shot ranks way up there when it comes to the most popular hockey movies. They acting was so-so. The language, well… questionable. The scenes were exaggerated. But the characters were unique, funny and entertaining, for the most part. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favour. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t mistake it for an Academy Award or Golden Globe Award winner… but it should put a smile on your face.

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