The Hanson Brothers (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday June 26, 2007 2:22PM; Updated: Wednesday June 27, 2007 1:53PM
They were asked the typical questions: Could Paul Newman, who played Reg Dunlop, the Chiefs' raffish, long-in-the-tooth player-coach, skate? (Newman acquitted himself well, they say -- though not as well as actor Michael Ontkean, the Charlestown forward who had scored more than 100 points over three seasons at New Hampshire.) What about the three actors' pro hockey backgrounds? (They played a combined 34 years.) Are they all married? (Yes.) And whose idea was the foil?
The Carlsons and Hanson did not, in real life, tape foil over their knuckles -- that was a grace note added by screenwriter Nancy Dowd. What they did do while with the minor league Johnstown (Pa.) Jets, as Jeff explains, was "rough up" the knuckles on golf gloves by using a file. "[Then] we'd lay them on a radiator, get them hard as rocks, then make sure we fought on the first shift," he says, before their sweat softened the gloves' serrations.
Steve Carlson, now 51, and running a power skating school in Kenosha, Wis., was three years into a 14-year pro career when he and the others got tapped to do Slap Shot early in 1976. Two years later he played for the WHA's Edmonton Oilers and roomed with a rookie who had a big upside -- guy named Gretzky. In Steve's sole NHL season, 1979-80 with the Los Angeles Kings, he scored nine goals.
Jeff Carlson, 52, spent a decade in the minors. He has a 12-year-old son and is an electrician in Muskegon, Mich.
Dave Hanson also toiled 10 years in the minors -- ascending to the NHL to play 11 games for the Red Wings and 22 for the Minnesota North Stars -- and racked up more than 2,000 penalty minutes. A month after the movie wrapped, he married Sue Kaschalk, a coal miner's daughter, from Nanty Glo, Pa. Dave, 53, manages a sports facility at Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh. They have two daughters and a son, Christian, who's a promising 6' 4", 220-pound center at Notre Dame. He doesn't fight much.
When the "brothers" reveal they are all are from Minnesota, the Redvers fans seem surprised -- and vaguely disappointed -- that they aren't Canadian. They are, however, Slap Shot verité: Asked how much of the movie actually happened, Jeff replies, "I never acted at all."
Nancy Dowd, a Smith-educated French major from Framingham, Mass., was a fledgling writer living in L.A. when she got a call late one night in 1974 from her little brother, Ned, a Bowdoin grad who was playing for those Johnstown Jets of the now-defunct NAHL. Ned was drunk, and he had bad news: The Jets were on the block. When she asked who owned the club, he said he had no idea.
"It was incredible to me that my brother did not know who owned his team," she wrote recently in a letter posted by madbrothers.com, a website devoted to Slap Shot (not to be confused with hansonbrothers.net, which the Hansons prefer). "If you didn't know who owned you, what did you know? . . . I bought a cheap ticket 'back East' . . . back to a rusting mill town, back to lowered expectations, back to narrowness and shuttered minds. And I wrote Slap Shot."
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