Oil Kings foiled

The Hanson brothers of Slap Shot fame entertained the crowd at Friday's Oil Kings game against the...

The Hanson brothers of Slap Shot fame entertained the crowd at Friday's Oil Kings game against the Moose Jaw Warriors. (Codie McLachlan/QMI Agency)

CRASH CAMERON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:57 AM ET

EDMONTON - It’s real.

The Hanson Brothers may only play at being tough guys anymore, but the hair is the real deal.

“No wigs. Noo-ooo-oo wigs,” smiled Steve Carlson, one of two Carlson brothers who played as Hansons alongside Dave Hanson in the original Slap Shot movie, Canada’s favourite sports flick.

Old days

The ‘brothers’ visited Rexall Place Friday night as the Edmonton Oil Kings hosted the Moose Jaw Warriors, a 6-3 loss for the home team. Some day, someone should make a movie about the old days of the Western Hockey League that could be a true sequel to Slap Shot.

“We wore a wig the first three months of our tour when we first started out doing this and they looked awful. I told Dave and Jeff (Carlson, the oldest of the Minnesota-born brothers) let’s just grow our hair.

“They were hot and very uncomfortable. ‘Let’s just grow our hair out.’ So, no more wigs.”

You should know the story. And be ashamed if you don’t. The Carlsons and Hanson were the real deal, old-school tough hockey players that battled through the life that was minor-pro hockey in the 1970s.

Nancy Dowd wrote a script based on the stories her brother Ned told her when he played for the Johnstown (Pennsylvania) Jets that became the Charlestown Chiefs in the 1977 film. It attracted first-class talent like director George Roy Hill and the great Paul Newman and became a cult, one where fans memorize the lines like they do for Monty Python’s Holy Grail or the Dude’s Big Lebowski.

“It’s not a career,” Steve said of still being a Hanson 30-some years on. Much of their appearance money over that time has been for charities. “Dave and Jeff work for a living. But when you have three great-looking guys with the glasses, with all the talent in the world, how can it fail?

“Why are you laughing?”

The glasses? OK, those are fake. Just glass inside the thick, black frames with a white strip where actual tape used to be.

“These aren’t the originals. Actually, during Slap Shot 2 we broke three pairs during our episodes on the ice. But not many, really. We’re very careful.”

The interesting twist of the original tale was that middle brother Jack was supposed to be the third Hanson, with the real Hanson to be Dave “Killer” Carlson.

But Jack received a late-season call-up to the playoff-bound soon-to-be-great Edmonton Oilers, who were still in the World Hockey Association .

No grudge, said Steve.

“Not at all. He had a great hockey career, the National Hockey League, the WHA. We’ve done a few things with him when Dave (Hanson) couldn’t make it and I asked him … and he said, ‘Sure.’ He likes it, too.

‘No regrets’

“He has no regrets. Now he’s in with a bunch of athletes from Minnesota with the Sports Ministry.”

So, he’s the brains of the family?

“Yeah, he is!” Steve said after a slight pause. “He makes a lot more money than we do.”

david.cameron@sunmedia.ca


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