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Staals Battle Hanson Brothers In Unique Challenge

by Joe Sager / Pittsburgh Penguins

It wasn’t quite a civil war, but it did pit brothers vs. Brothers.

Jordan and Eric Staal took on the Hanson Brothers of “Slap Shot” fame in a unique challenge on Sept. 9 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The siblings – fictional and not – were on hand for the launch of the EA Sports NHL 08 video game, with Eric Staal as its cover boy.

The brothers took part in a “friendly” competition that featured three events – a round in the Hall of Fame’s shooting accuracy machine, some games of bubble hockey and one game of NHL 08 on PlayStation 3.

And, as it turned out, not even Jordan and Eric Staal could overcome the Hanson Brothers when they “put on the foil.” The famed Hanson Brothers – Steve and Jeff Carlson and Dave Hanson, a Pittsburgh resident – won the competition, with victories in two events.

“It was a good time,” Jordan Staal said. “Those guys are pretty hilarious in character and not in character.”

“Oh yeah, it was a good time. We really enjoyed meeting the Staal brothers. We enjoy being good examples for those young men and beating the pants off them,” Dave Hanson said, tongue in cheek. “They are exciting young hockey players who are outstanding in today’s game. But, we cagey veterans still have a few tricks up our sleeves to show them.

“It was a lot of fun. I don’t think they knew what to expect. They are young, quiet guys and we came in and loosened them up right away. We did a typical locker room type routine where we were relentless on them and didn’t let up. They are good sports and had a lot of fun.”

The Hanson Brothers, thanks to plenty of trash talking, prevailed in the shooting accuracy competition. However, the Staals rallied for a win in bubble hockey.

“We ended up losing the shooting competition, when we were supposed to win. It was basically rigged for us to win, but we ended up losing that,” Jordan said with a laugh. “There was a bubble hockey tournament, which we ended up winning, but we weren’t supposed to win.”

According to Dave Hanson, the Staals got some help in the bubble hockey competition.

Jordan and Eric Staal react to their loss to the Hanson Brothers in the EA Sports NHL 08 game.

“The last thing I want to do is say that Jordan kind of exaggerates the truth a little. All in all, we won the shooting contest. We got into bubble hockey and beat them, but they whined so much, we went into an extra game where the next goal won,” he said. “We beat them in the first game and they wanted to play another. We let them win. They actually went ahead 3-0 and we came back and tied. We said the next goal would win, so we shot it in our own net so at least it was 1-1 going into the rubber match of the video game.”

In the video game, the Hanson Brothers played as the Penguins, while Jordan and Eric were the Hurricanes. The game was scoreless until the Hansons won on a late breakaway.

“Yeah, we ended up losing. We were Carolina, so that was a mistake right there,” Jordan said. “Cam Ward let in a weak goal in the last 10 seconds, so that’s just the way it goes. It was a pretty embarrassing loss, that’s for sure.”

Dave Hanson, who is the General Manager of the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center on Neville Island, knew he and his “brothers” would prevail.

“We tried our best to at least let them think they were competitive. We kept it close and tight. It wasn’t until we got down to the final video game challenge until we turned it on,” he said. “We did our darnedest to make them feel they were in the game. The last 10 seconds, we had a breakaway, shot and scored.”

The video game win was especially gratifying, since it was the first time the Hansons had played PlayStation.

“We’re just such natural athletes, our thumbs took over and we had no problems,” Dave Hanson said. “We thought they had the advantage since they played shorthanded. And, we all know Jordan can only score when shorthanded. It didn’t quite work out that way this time for them.”

Once the competition was complete, the Hanson Brothers would not let the Staals wear their trademark glasses.

“We got a little concerned when they started asking for our glasses. Since we beat them, they saw how all the hockey chicks were coming to us,” Dave Hanson said. “They said the glasses were chick magnets, but there was no way we could have given them the glasses – we wouldn’t have been able to see how to get out of there.”

The Hansons have an open invitation to battle all three Staal brothers playing in the NHL – Eric, Jordan and Marc.

“Yeah, they called us names. That’s OK, we’re always up for good challenge,” Dave Hanson said. “They need to get the other brother – I heard he is tougher than both of them. Hopefully, get him in there and it’d be a real challenge.”


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