The Boston Bruins signed Christian Hanson to a one-year, two-way deal on July 9, a deal that allows him to play with either the Boston or Providence Bruins in 2012-13.
If his name sounds familiar, that’s because it is: Hanson is the son of Dave Hanson, one of the inspirations for the Hanson brothers in the movie “Slap Shot.” The elder Hanson played for many teams over his career, including the Johnstown Jets, Birmingham Bulls and even the Detroit Red Wings, though only briefly for the Red Wings. A defenseman, he did put up goals and assists, but also racked up the penalty minutes, like in 1982-83 when he had 285 penalty minutes and 39 points.
Unlike his dad, though, the younger Hanson plays center. He spent four years at the University of Notre Dame, a college career that included two conference championships, trips to three NCAA tournaments and serving as an alternate captain in his senior year. Then, he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs after he finished school, though he tended to play more for the AHL Toronto Marlies.
In 2009-10, he played 31 games with the Maple Leafs, went to the 2010 AHL All-Star Game and represented America at the 2010 World Championship in Germany. He also had his first NHL fight in 2010 with Brian Lee of the Ottawa Senators, inevitably bringing up the father-son comparisons. In both of his full seasons with the Toronto organization, he scored at least 31 points with the Marlies.
He signed with the Washington Capitals in 2011 and spent the 2011-12 season with their AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. In Hershey, he put up 21 points and 42 penalty minutes in 52 games. While with the Bears, Hanson played with another famous hockey son: Chris Bourque, another recent Boston acquisition thanks to a trade in June and the son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque.
Now the two could be reunited in Providence because it’s not likely that either hockey son will make the Boston team right away. Providence needs the skills that Hanson and Bourque bring to the table, especially considering that the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009 and is looking to improve their standing in the league.