Slap Shot -- 01/17/13

There on the front page of the Sports section of my morning newspaper -- the Providence Journal -- generally called ProJo (among other things) -- was Bill Reynolds with a piece titled "Decades later, 'Slap Shot' is still rattling the funny bones."

Now normally I do not bother to read the Sports section except on days when they carry something by Reynolds... Especially the Saturday edition when he writes a column filled with wise cracks and sarcasm. It's fun to read. Other than Bill Reynolds, there is not much worth reading for me in that section. I grew up as a baseball fan -- to be precise, a Brooklyn Dodgers fan -- but then they moved to California. I was a freshman in college when the New York Mets made their somewhat inauspicious debut and I followed them for a while. Now I'm living in Red Sox country and I suppose I'd rather see the Red Sox win rather than the New York Yankees, but actually I really don't care about the exploits of millionaire steroid users.

Actually, I also don't give a damn about any of the thugs who play professional basketball (or, for that matter, the semi-pro college players). Football. Don't give a damn. I might watch the Super Bowl if the Patriots are playing, but that's only because it's a good excuse to eat some Buffalo wings. But news about the big money professional sports -- baseball, football, basketball -- just isn't anything I'm interested in reading about. My complaint about the ProJo is that it almost totally ignores running events. Oh, well, the CVS 5k with thousands of runners and thousands more watching -- that takes place right in downtown Providence -- yeah, they'll do a piece on that, even put in a couple of pictures. The Rhode Island Marathon would get another (smaller) write-up. But that's it. They have no running columnist, they have no listings of coming events, they have no coverage of events, they have no results of races, nothing... I subscribe to three running magazines because it's the only way I can get to read about running.

But I digress...

The news hook for this piece is a local appearance of "The Hanson Brothers" from Slap Shot. (Now I would swear that I had written an entire entry here at one point, talking about Slap Shot and the close connection it had with Binghamton, where we used to live -- but I've found where I've made references to minor league hockey in Binghamton -- but not any discussion of Slap Shot. Note to self: write that up one of these days.) The Hanson Brothers were characters in the movie, played by actual hockey players (rather than by actors) -- "Jeff Hanson" played by Jeff Carlson and "Steve Hanson" played by Steve Carlson. The third Carlson brother -- Jack -- was unable to be in the film because the Edmonton Oilers had called him up for the WHA playoffs. Jack was known as an enforcer on the ice and had the knickname of "Killer" Carlson. The third brother "Jack Hanson" was played by David Hanson, with ten years professional hockey experience (and who also had a reputation of being an enforcer), but all three "actors" were professional hockey players.

They are appearing at URI (at their main campus here in Kingston, RI) this coming Saturday. They are in their late fifties but continue to be active in hockey (as coaches, etc.) and to make public appearances as "The Hanson Brothers." Saturday will feature a charity hockey game pitting URI alumni against the Skating Firemen of the FDNY. Admission $20 ($10 for kids) and includes the charity game at 1 p.m. plus a varsity game between URI and Niagara at 4 p.m.

We often like to say that Rhode Island is more like a small town (despite having about a million people living here) and that you could play a six degrees of separation in Rhode Island (but it wouldn't take six). Or, as Bill Reynolds put it in his article, "all roads lead to Rhode Island." David Hanson's son, Christian Hanson, also plays professional hockey. He signed with the Boston Bruins and is currently assigned to the Providence Bruins.

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