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Slap Shot’s Hanson Brothers Ready to Bring ‘Old-Time hockey’ Back to RI

Thursday, January 10, 2013

 

To say hockey has played a role in David Hanson’s life is an understatement.

For 10 years, the Minnesota native made a career bouncing all around the country playing for teams as prestigious as the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings to teams as unknown and niche as the Central Hockey League’s Indianapolis Checkers.

But it was his role as one of the Hanson Brothers, more specifically Jack Hanson, in the 1977 film “Slap Shot” that branded him for life.

Now, over 35 years after the movie’s release, Hanson is getting ready to bring everything that fans of the classic film loved to the ice at URI’s Boss Arena.

Next Saturday, January 19, Hanson will join his “Slap Shot” counterparts Jeff and Steve Carlson and URI hockey alumni to take on the Skating Firemen of the FDNY for a special charity hockey game.

The game precedes a matchup between nationally-ranked URI and Niagra at 4 p.m. and will be followed by an autograph and picture session with the Hanson brothers. Proceeds will be used to raise funds for the 501 c3 World War II Foundation and the game is meant to “honor the heroes of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and the World War II generation.”

A cause Hanson couldn’t turn down.

As one of the three central characters in “Slap Shot”, a movie that opened to fairly negative reviews but has in the years since its release blossomed into a critic’s favorite and a consensus pick as one of the top sports movies of all-time, Hanson says he and the Carlsons get a number of requests to make appearances each year and Saturday’s game at URI stood out “for all the right reasons.”

“What we do is pick and choose the ones that we think will be most beneficial for us, are close to our hearts and one that we know we’ll have a good time at,” he said. “We recognize the value of our military, especially the veterans back then and any opportunity we have to try to support in some way and show our thanks as well as support the cause and help out, we jump at it and in this case, they came calling and we didn’t have to think twice before we said yes.”

Hanson promises the event will be an afternoon of “good, healthy fun family entertainment” and, if there’s one thing fans can count on it’s seeing the spirit of “Slap Shot” live and in person.

“Besides awareness obviously, we’re hoping to raise funds that help support the foundation and what are we going to do?,” Hanson said with a chuckle. “We’re going to wreck havoc and play old time hockey when we play against those folks from New York and we want to entertain the fans in the stands as well as the people on the ice and that in turn will hopefully raise some awareness and make some money for the foundation.”

A special tie to Rhode Island

Hanson also has other plans in the state next weekend.

Barring a call-up to Boston, his son Christian will be skating at the Dunkin Donuts Center as a member of the Providence Bruins when the team takes on the Portland Pirates next Friday night.

“My hope was that this trip would not allow me to do that because he would be in camp in Boston so I don’t know how that’s working out yet but if he’s not, I’m looking forward to seeing some old Providence Bruins hockey.”

It will be a return to Hanson’s roots as the former pro hockey player was a member of the Rhode Island Reds for their last season of existence in 1976-1977.

In the meantime, Hanson is just happy to keep doing what he’s been doing for more than three decades since the release of the film that changed his life.

“Well, back when we were filming that movie, we weren’t thinking about much of anything other than drinking and chasing women,” he said. “But it’s been a ride, it doesn’t seem to slow down, it just continues to pick up speed and keeps going full bore ahead and we just keep having a blast with it so as long as there’s good reasons to be doing it and having fun doing it, we just keep doing and certainly coming out to an event like this is a very good reason.”

Tickets for next Saturday’s game, which cost $20 for adults and $10 for kids and include the autograph/picture session as well as entry into URI’s game against Niagara, are on sale now at http://wwiifoundation.org/events/hansons. Tickets for a special VIP reception with the Hanson brothers taking place before the game are on sale for $50. 

 

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