Indiana Ice vs. Cedar Rapids Rough Riders
Saturday, Nov. 24, 7:05 p.m.
Special Appearance by The Hanson Brothers
"Fuckin' machine took my quarter!"
This was the first line uttered by one of The Hanson Brothers in the 1977 hockey film “Slap Shot.” Steve Carlson (aka Steve Hanson), Jeff Carlson (Jeff Hanson) and David Hanson (Jack Hanson) went from being hockey players to being hockey players that were in a film to being cult film icons.
Steve Carlson said the idea of “Slap Shot” started while the trio was playing for the Johnstown Jets of the North American Hockey League. One of their teammates was Ned Dowd, sibling of screenwriter Nancy Dowd. Ned would later be the film's technical advisor and play the role of hockey goon Ogie Oglithorpe.
"Ned would send tapes of antics that happened on and off ice. She came and traveled and watched how we played. A lot of that stuff in the film really happened to us. Jumping the team during warm-ups, running into the stands and later getting arrested," Carlson said.
“Slap Shot” followed the lowly Charlestown Chiefs on the verge of folding. Coach Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) creates a rumor of the team being sold and motivates the players to on ice brutality to win games. Director George Roy Hill (“The Sting,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”) cast actors who could actually skate.
"Paul Newman did very well. I think he skated for a month before filming. There were only a couple scenes where they used Newman's double," he said.
The film initially received mixed reviews, but over time gained a cult following. The film asked the question of where is the line drawn between sport, violence and entertainment. Thirty years later, there is still no clear answer. Within the last few years, “SI,” ESPN.com and “The Sporting News” named “Slap Shot” as one of the top 10 sports films of all time.
"If it's not at the top, it's a misprint," Carlson said.
The straight-to-DVD feature addressed the corporate hooks into the sport.
The trio reunited in the early ’90s to don the jerseys and trademark glasses for a couple of games that two of the guys worked in the front office. The Hansons make 35-40 appearances a year. The Hanson Brothers were on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” earlier this year. In 2001, “Slap Shot 2” was filmed with The Hanson Brothers, Stephen Baldwin and Gary Busey.
Carlson never gets tired of fans spouting lines like "Old time hockey," "Putting on the foil," "I'm listening to the fucking song!" and "None of that stinkin' root beer."
"If it's starting to get old, it's time to retire. That film saved my career. When I went back to playing, all the other guys thought I was tough (laughs)," he said.
Carlson has been running a hockey school for the last 20 years and has recently returned to coaching a high school team in Kenosha, Wis. Carlson wishes "Old time hockey" would return.
"It's not about promoting fighting. I'm talking about tough hockey. I'm going to let you in on an untold rule. Tough guys only fight other tough guys. The superstars get room to play. If you're playing against Wayne Gretzky, you hit him but you don't hurt him. The fans want to see Gretzky. They're not here to see Steve Carlson," he said.
Carlson always knew he would devout his life to hockey. “Slap Shot” and the extra fame it brought was for him gravy on the sundae.
"Hockey is a great sport. I love teaching it. I played with Gretzky and [Gordie] Howe. I make a million dollars a year off our royalties (laughs). If we only won the Academy Award," he said.
For more information on The Hanson Brothers, go to hansonbrothers.net