Leafs Hope Hanson can bring SLAPSHOT magic In 2010-11

Every true hockey fan has watched the 1977 hockey comedy
called Slaphsot at least once.

The story of a minor league hockey team that discovers
violent play makes them heroes in their declining factory town.

The movie focuses on a fictional team called the Charlestown
Chiefs, who are members of the fictional Federal League. The team, a perennial
loser and in financial trouble due to mill closings in the town, is due to be
folded at season’s end.

Searching for an answer, the coach Reggie Dunlop, who is also
a player on the team, makes some changes. He adds
three violent goons with child-like mentalities, known as the Hanson brothers,
to the roster.

Dunlop, quickly pegs the brothers as eccentric and
unreliable, so he doesn’t let them off the bench. Finally, in a moment of
desperation and passiveness, he brings the trio of thugs into the game to see
what they can do. The result? Fighting, big open-ice hits and overly aggressive
play that gets the fans crazy and gives them something to cheer about.

The coach sees the potential in this style of play and
starts remodeling the Chiefs after the Hansons’ image. The rough and tough team
ends up winning the Federal League championship and celebrates by parading
around the ice with the championship trophy, carried by a jockstrap-only-clad

This classic sports movie may be a little unrealistic in
today’s NHL, but the main point is made loud and clear. A team full of hard
workers with teammates and coaches who believe in each other, is capable of
anything. And sometimes the addition of a new player to a team’s roster will
lead to something special.

I’m not saying this is why the Leafs management signed free
agent and real-life son of one of the Hanson brothers last year, but anything’s
possible if you’re a Leafs fan I guess.   

Wouldn’t it be cool though, if this 24 year-old was able to
help the Leafs in 2010-11, a little bit like the way his dad helped the Chiefs
in the movie. Hanson was signed a two-year, $1.575-million contract with the
Leafs on March 31, 2009, which included an annual $87,500 signing bonus.

He made his NHL debut three days later against the Flyers.
Four nights later, he scored his first career NHL goal against Martin Brodeur
in a 4–1 win over New Jersey. This goal tied his father’s career goal mark as well. On
April 10, 2010, Hanson recorded his first short-handed goal and his first
multi-goal game versus Montreal.

Hanson recorded seven points in 31 games last year, so maybe the
young forward can bang in 20 or more in a full 82 game schedule.

He also played for Planet USA in the 2010 AHL All-Star Game
in Portland, Maine. The experience was a good thing for him, I’m sure.

Hanson began his hockey life playing for his Peters Township
High School team. He played a large role in his school’s Pennsylvania State AA
Hockey Championship. He then played Midget “AAA” hockey for the
Pittsburgh Hornets, where he was a teammate of Los Angeles Kings prospect
Patrick Mullen.

The 6’4″, 225 pounds centreman is considered to be a
sturdy two-way centre who scored 16 goals and 15 assists for 31 points in 37
games during his final season for Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish hockey club.


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