The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Hockey stars help local firefighters raise money for those in need

The Hanson Brothers were in Cowtown Sept. 26, and they weren't strumming on guitars and mashing keyboards singing MMMBop. The Hanson Brothers at the Max Bell arena were the ones known for slapping pucks, bashing boards and slashing shins.

The stars of the 1977 hockey film "Slap Shot" - David Hanson, Jeff Carlson and Steve Carlson - were in town to take part in the Battle of the Badges charity hockey game on the Monday that saw the Calgary and Edmonton fire department hockey teams go head-to-head.BattleoftheBadges3David Hanson, Steve Carlson and Jeff Carlson patiently await the playing of the national anthem at the Max Bell arena on Monday Sept. 26. The Hanson Brothers were special guests in the charity game which saw the Calgary and Edmonton fire department hockey teams face off.
Photo Credit: Jorden Dixon 

In the 1970's, Hanson and the Carlson brothers - Jeff, Steve and Jack - all played professional hockey together for the Johnstown Jets, out of Pennsylvania, which was part of the North American Hockey League.

Known for their rough, tough and sometimes unruly ways on the ice, a teammates sister wrote the movie Slap Shot, about the Johnstown Jets - called the Charlestown Chiefs in the film.

However, Jack was unable to star in the film and Hanson replaced him in that role. With the release of the film, notoriety was gained by the so-called "Hanson Brothers" for being menaces on the ice.

After 34 years, the enforcing trio of the Charlestown Chiefs haven't changed their approach to the game.

"We're going to go out and rape, pillage and create as much mayhem as we can," said Hanson.

But the game wasn't just about wreaking havoc on the ice, as all proceeds went to two charities - The Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Society (CFBTS) and Project Warmth Society of Alberta.

The CFBTS has raised $12 million over the past 15 years, all of it going towards helping those recovering from severe burns. The Project Warmth Society provides warm clothing to those in need, and during 2010 approximately 60,000 pieces of warm clothing were handed out in Calgary.

"These are the guys that are out there helping us and protecting us and saving our lives," Hanson said. "To be in the same locker room with these guys ... is a big bonus to it."

"Even though we're the slapstick entertainment tonight we are the ones who are really honoured to be a part of the team," Steve added.

Also in attendance was former National Hockey League referee, Kerry Fraser. Having officiated over 2,000 NHL games, he was more than capable of keeping the Hanson Brothers in check.

But the cause of the game hit close to home for Fraser who has a son in London, Ont. working as a firefighter, and another son in New Jersey working as a transit police officer.

"Just from a cause perspective it's to support the kind of stuff that our kids have chosen as professions," he said.

Jeremy Leece, local firefighter and vice president of the CFBTS, frequently deals with burn victims and has seen what it takes for one to heal.

"When you're that closely attached to it you see the aftermath of a burn and you know how intense the rehab is... Not only is it horrific from a media standpoint but we know from the inside how long term the healing goes on."

According to Leece, the charity hockey game raised around $6,500, which will be split between the two charities.

The Hanson Brothers and Fraser made seven different stops on the Battle of the Badges tour, helping raise funds for a total of nine different charities in seven Canadian cities

Calgary marked the end of the Battle of the Badges tour, but for Leece it's only the beginning.

"This is just one year of many," he said. "We hope to have it year after year and have the public and businesses come out and support us."

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