Paul Newman’s movie, “Slap Shot”, opened 40 years ago to fairly negative reviews but over time has become a consensus pick as one of the top sports flicks of all-time. The trio that stole the show was the Hanson Brothers. And at the center of that mayhem was David Hanson, aka Jack Hanson, (far left in photo).
For 10 years, Dave, a Minnesota native, made a career playing for teams as mighty as the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and our own RI Reds. However, 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.
As one of the three central hooligans, Hanson says he and his on-screen brothers, Steve Carlson as Steve Hanson and (real life brother) Jeff Carlson as Jeff Hanson, still get a number of requests each year to re-create their old-time, over-the-top havoc and fisticuffs for charitable fundraising. They’ve appeared in rinks in Rhode Island a number of times over the years to choruses of laughter and generous giving.
Dave’s play with our RI Reds coincided with the release of the movie. He suited up for the Roosters during the 1976-77 season, the last of the teams’ 51 years here in Providence before the franchise moved to Binghampton, NY. In a case of life imitating fiction, the bruising defenseman amassed 98 minutes in penalties in only 27 games here at our Civic Center, while tallying 2 goals and 10 assists.
Interestingly, his son Christian followed in his father’s footsteps to Providence when he skated with the Providence Bruins over the entire 2012-13 season, grinding out 12 goals and 22 assists.
Like his dad, the 6’4” Christian, a 4-year starter at center with Notre Dame, also made it to the NHL. He played in 42 games over parts of three seasons, from 2008 thru 2011, with the Toronto Maple Leafs.