By Stan Silliman
What Happened to the Hanson Brothers?
Do you ever ask that? Whatever happened to the Hanson Brothers – the nerd-glasses wearing, toy-car-loving, foul mouthed goons from the 1977 cult hockey movie, Slapshot?
No, Sonia, they didn’t come back as a soda-pop singing boy band in the late 90s. That was Hanson. We’re talking about Steve, Jack and Jeff not Isaac, Taylor and Zac. Did I just remember the names of the singing Hansons? Shoot me, please.
Another thing, Sonia, if you remember Slapshot at all, you’ll know it was the raunchiest, rowdiest sports movie of all time. If you know that, how can you confuse a candy band from Tulsa with the candy-machine-smashing hockey brothers?
“When you have no one to walk beside you… I will come to you”
No, Sonia, the hockey playing Hanson brothers did NOT sing those lyrics! No!
The Hanson brothers said “F-----g machine took my quarter!”
The guys who appeared as the Hanson brothers in the movie are still making personal appearances, mostly in Canada. So when they tell people they’re all from Minnesota most of the Canadians at the Kiwanis Club or the Moose Lodge (not real moose. Yeah, I know, it’s Canada, but they’re still not real moose) are so disappointed. They’re even more disappointed to find out that these guys are not really Hanson brothers. Yes, the guys in the movie were real hockey players, minor league mostly but with some time in the NHL. Yes, the Hanson brothers were based on three real hockey brothers, the Carlson brothers, two of which wore glasses. And yes, two of the guys playing the Hanson brothers in the movie were Carlson brothers - Jeff and Steve. This is where it gets weird. Jeff and Steve played Hansons, characters inspired by themselves. The third Hanson brother was played by Dave Hanson. That’s beautiful in its confusion.
What’s even more beautiful in our opinion, is that the Hanson brothers and their nuances, their idiosyncrasies, like wrapping their hands in aluminum foil were all created by a writer who never played professional hockey. Heck, she never even played college hockey. At least we can’t find where Smith College had a hockey team. Nancy Dowd, a French major, whose brother was a minor league hockey player, penned this rowdy masterpiece based on one little piece of information: Her brother called to tell her his team was for sale. And then when asked who owned the team he played for, he replied he had no idea. That one question, not knowing who owned you was the genesis for her story.
It’s easy to see why the Hansons resonated with so many hockey fans. They were just so real. But again, when you create characters based on real people and then have two of the real brothers you based the characters on play the parts, it ought to be real. Then when the third actor playing a Carlson brother named Hanson was actually another professional hockey player whose real name was Hanson, well then…
Dave Hanson, 53, the only Hanson brother actually named Hanson, today manages a sports facility at Robert Morris University near Pittsburg. Dave has two daughters and a son, Christian, who is a 6’4 225-pound hockey playing center at Notre Dame.
Jeff Carlson, 52, who played Jeff Hanson, is an electrician in Muskegon, Michigan.
Steve Carlson, 51, runs a power skating school in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
See, Sonia, the hockey Hansons are in no way the singing Hansons. To which she answers “Dad, I was only two when Slapshot came out. How would I know?”
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