Christian Hanson believes his stick will be what separates him from his father’s schtick.
The 23-year old son of Dave Hanson — one of the iconic Hanson Brothers of Slap Shot movie fame — will be introduced today as the newest Maple Leaf.
The highly sought free agent forward inked a two-year contract with the Maple Leafs yesterday, three days after the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were eliminated from the U.S. college hockey playoffs.
“It’s pretty neat,” said Hanson, reached in South Bend, Ind. “After Notre Dame got eliminated, Toronto was one of the teams that came and made an offer. It just seemed like the right fit for me. It’s a storied organization, and I feel Mr. Burke (Leafs GM Brian Burke) has a tremendous track record and has the team heading in the right direction.”
As a player, Hanson is about as far as possible from the celluloid goon his father portrayed or the plugger his father was in those years toiling mostly in the minors, with 33 NHL games to his credit.
“He has got a keen hockey sense,” said Dave Hanson. “He’s got good speed, good hands, good shot. He’s not going to be a role player, which was my game.”
Raised largely in upstate New York, Christian Hanson was a rink rat like most other hockey kids. Dave Hanson put his son on skates at age two, and coached him until 16.
But there was always one thing Christian had to deal with that the other kids didn’t: The fame of his father and two ex-teammates. Dave Hanson, Jeff Carlson and brother Steve Carlson — journeymen players — gained fame as the bruising, brawny Hanson Brothers. Their knuckles wrapped in foil, their coke-bottle glasses taped, they punched their way to cult hero status in the 1977 movie starring Paul Newman. Christian figures he’s probably seen the movie about 40 or 50 times, watching it two or three times a year.
“Every time you watch it, you see something else that’s funny.”