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Carlsons celebrate spirit of 'Slap Shot' at Hockeyville

by David Satriano

JOHNSTOWN, Pa.-- The city of Johnstown, Pa., is synonymous with the film "Slap Shot."

Based on brothers Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson and Jack Carlson, who played here for the Johnstown Jets in the mid-1970s, parts of "Slap Shot" were filmed at Cambria County War Memorial Arena and around town, with Jeff and Steve, and David Hanson, in the film making up the Hanson brothers.

So when Johnstown submitted its application for Kraft Hockeyville USA, it's not surprising that Hanson and the Carlsons were front and center.

"We really felt moved to try and help the effort," said Hanson, who played Jack Hanson in the movie. "We did that and of course the history of Johnstown before and after the Hanson brothers is pretty great. It's pretty good to be a part of it.

"This is where it started, and it's always been a special place for all of us who have a variety of different ties here."

Jeff and Steve Carlson are also in town as part of Kraft Hockeyville USA, which was won by Johnstown. It will culminate with a preseason game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

Steve had 30 goals and 88 points in 70 games during the 1974-75 season, and 22 goals and 46 points in the 1975-76 season with the Jets. Jeff had 47 points in each of those seasons. Jack had 49 points in 1974-75, the only season he played in Johnstown.

"I always said, 'Thank God they made the movie,' because after that, everyone thought I was tough. But I wasn't a fighter," Steve Carlson said. "I was more of the skilled one. I was fifth in the league in scoring that year. I was more of a skilled person."

The 1977 movie starred the brothers who were agitators on the ice, so it may be surprising to some to know how many charity and public events they do.

"We're outgoing. We make sure we shake hands with all the people we do autograph sessions with. We talk to them," Steve said. "We always want to make sure the fans leave happy.

"The buzz has been going on ever since [Johnstown] won [Kraft Hockeyville USA]. We put an effort into trying to help them win it. We did our videos, we did our push on social media. When they won it, it was pretty exciting."

The game may be the focal point, but the trio also wants to showcase the community of Johnstown.

"We've done about three or four events here when the [Johnstown] Chiefs were here [in the Eastern Hockey League] and when the [Johnstown] Tomahawks [of the North American Hockey League] were here. This is where it all started for us," Steve Carlson said.

"Very special people here, very special to start our career here and to come back. In two years it will be 40 years since the movie came out. The same people you see that cheered us on or booed us, but it's going to be a good event."


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