BostonBruins.com – There is no shortage of times that Christian Hanson has been asked about his father Dave’s famous role as a Hanson brother in the hockey cult classic “Slap Shot.”
But for the younger Hanson, the aura of the Hanson brothers has been a welcome byline attached to his name.
“I love it. I love it, honestly I do,” said the forward recently signed by Boston.
“I’ll sit down and talk about it all day and all night. I think it’s the greatest sports movie of all time. You may call me biased but I think you’ll find a couple people who would back that argument up with me.”
Hanson will find more than a few people to back that up – the 1977 flick in which his father dons No. 16 for the Charlestown Chiefs has sparked a following through the years that still has the famed trio drawing more fans.
“I think the Hanson brothers are awesome,” he said. “My dad [Dave Hanson], Steven [Carlson], Jeffrey [Carlson], three great people and I think the movie’s fantastic.
“And to be able to see what they do now – I mean the movie came out in ‘77 - it’s 2012 and they’re still able to go tour around the world and just raise money for charity. They raise millions and millions of dollars for numerous charities.”
In the neighborhood of $12 million, to be exact. In addition to teaming with the Carlsons to raise funds for various causes throughout North America and Europe, Dave Hanson set up the Putting on the Foil Foundation, which works with Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camp, as a way for him “to chip in to help Paul continue his legacy of helping those children who are dealing with serious illnesses.” And Christian has seen the effects of “Slap Shot” firsthand.
“To be able to see what they do now so far removed from the movie and see the positive impact that it has on the game – I mean they go to rinks now and they have 7-year-old kids come up to them reciting movie lines to them.
“It’s crazy, it’s something that they never thought would happen when they first filmed the movie. But just to see how large it is today is just fantastic.”
But Hanson hasn’t just seen the positive aspects of the sport through the movie’s aftermath – his father spent 10 seasons in professional hockey, reaching the NHL and World Hockey Association.
“My entire life through my father I’ve been around hockey, so even at a young age I’ve had the influence of being around the locker room and growing up with professional athletes and just seeing the way that guys handle themselves.”
In addition to growing up in a hockey family with a father in the pros, the Pittsburgh, PA native has ended up in hockey hotbeds throughout his entire career. From growing up in Pittsburgh, to playing four years of collegiate hockey at the University of Notre Dame, to signing as an undrafted free agent with Toronto, not to mention spending the past season with the Hershey Bears.
“Notre Dame has really turned into a hockey hotbed, and I think you can see their name as a contender for years to come,” said Hanson, who helped the Irish to their first-ever Frozen Four berth in 2008. “And then going up to Toronto - I mean, Toronto is hockey.”
But the versatile Hanson is excited for the opportunity to come to hockey-heavy New England and help out the forward depth in a Bruins organization looking to contend for the Cup every year.
“They’re two years removed from Stanley Cup Champions,” he said. “Year in and year out they’re a contender and they just seem to be a great organization.”
“When I sat down and met with my agent, we wanted to come somewhere where I would have an opportunity to come into camp, to show them what I can put on the table.”
As the 26-year-old readies for his possibilities with the B’s, he’s also carving out his own identity. Though he’s quick to acknowledge that he doesn’t mind having Slap Shot’s Hanson brothers as part of his hockey repertoire.
“It’s great. I truly do love it. Anytime I’m around em’ - the three of them together, they’re a hoot, they’re an absolute riot. You’ll be hard-stricken to find somebody who isn’t a fan of the Hanson brothers.”
Whether it’s the Charlestown Chiefs’ style of play, “old-time hockey” or the Black & Gold’s system in Providence and Boston this season, Christian Hanson has a riot on the ice. It’s the style he knows best.
“The best advice my dad’s ever told me - and it’s one that I still hold true – is ‘If you’re not playing for the love of the game, you’re playing for the wrong reason.’”
“I just truly enjoy the game.”