Hanson Brings Versatility
BostonBruins.com -- New Bruins forward Christian Hanson has a unique hockey pedigree.
His father Dave, who played 33 games in the NHL for the Minnesota North Stars and Detroit Red Wings among many stops (including the New England Whalers) during a long professional career, gave his son a piece of advice as he got his start in hockey.
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"If you’re not playing for the love of the game, you’re playing for the wrong reason,” said the elder Hanson.
Christian took note. And why not? Dave Hanson is one of the movie Slap Shot's three Hanson Brothers, who remain crowd pleasers for their adherence to Eddie Shore hockey and their willingness to give an "extra effort" on the ice.
With that in mind, you might say that Christian Hanson's biggest hockey influences -- his dad and his two would-be uncles (Steve and Jeff Carlson) -- make him especially suited to wear Black & Gold even if he himself doesn't usually don the foil.
"I feel I’m versatile -- I can play center as well as wing -- so I think that really benefits me," said the younger Hanson via phone from his offseason home in Pittsburgh. "I’m 6-foot-4, 225-230-pounds and I feel that I’m a pretty solid defensive forward that can also contribute offensively.
"I truly enjoy penalty killing, I think I’m strong on faceoffs, so I think I just fit the mold of a big, hardworking, honest player."
That honest effort will certainly put him in good stead wherever he plays, but for the New Englanders in front of whom he'll play next season, that hard work is essential.
"I’ve been blessed to grow up in a hockey family," said Hanson. "So – my entire life through my father I’ve been around hockey, so even at a young age I’ve had the influence of being around the locker room and growing up with professional athletes and just seeing the way that guys handle themselves.
"Doing that, you’ve been able to really see the ones who are true professionals and how they handle themselves and how the guys react and just really see that those are the ones that players feed off of and what they do."
But Hanson has been groomed by other experiences, too. A standout with the NCAA's University of Notre Dame, Hanson advanced to the pros and has played in 148 career AHL games with Toronto and Hershey with 35-51-86 totals. In 42 NHL games, all with the Maple Leafs, the center has scored three goals, added six assists and 22 penalty minutes.
The forward will certainly bring some of those NCAA, AHL and NHL lessons with him when he takes the ice for Boston Bruins Training Camp this fall.
"When I went into Notre Dame they were coming off of a five win season," explained Hanson of his first collegiate season with the Fighting Irish. "Our first year we were a .500 team but we really gelled and bonded my sophomore year and we were ranked number one for a majority part of the season and ended up losing in the national tournament.
"Then in my junior year we came back and we made it all the way to the national championship game, losing to Boston College in the finals."And then going up to Toronto...you go up there and it’s hockey 24/7 - it’s fantastic," added Christian. "The people up there truly love hockey and they support the team.
"So I think it does help me coming into another city like Toronto – an 'Original Six' city that has an unbelievable fan base…and I think it’s going to benefit me because I’ve been there before - it’s really not going to be a culture shock to me."
However, Hanson is really looking forward to the shock of donning a spoked-B jersey in front of a sold out Garden.
"Yeah that’s the goal," said Hanson. "That’s my main focus here coming into camp and it’s all I want.
"I’ve played in the Garden, but I was sitting on the other bench getting booed quite a bit when I was with the Leafs."