Christian Hanson's return 12/28
As Providence's Christian Hanson sped down the right wing and centered the puck to Chris Bourque for the victory-securing empty-net goal Friday, he did so in the shadow of the Adirondack Red Wings Calder Cup championship banners that are hanging at the south end of the Glens Falls Civic Center.
His father, Dave Hanson, helped Adirondack win one of those banners in the 1980-81 season, the franchise's first-ever American Hockey League title. The elder Hanson retired three years later and took a couple of jobs in the Glens Falls area, and Christian Hanson was born in the city in 1986.
The younger Hanson spent the first nine or 10 years of his life in Queensbury before the family moved to the Pittsburgh area for Dave Hanson's new job. Christian Hanson has gone on to play 42 NHL games over three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he still has fond memories of his hometown and undoubtedly added another with a 4-2 win over the host Phantoms Friday night.
The fourth-year pro had two assists in the game, his first two professional points on the Civic Center ice. He'd been scoreless in two prior visits to Glens Falls during stints in Toronto and Hershey. He also played against the Phantoms in the Outdoor Classic held at Citizens Bank Park last season.
"I love Glens Falls," Christian Hanson said. "I love the Glens Falls Civic Center. It's where I learned to play hockey. My Dad has a great history here, he won a Calder Cup here so just to be able to come and play on the same ice that my Dad played on and just to spend some time in the area where I grew up is something special."
Dave Hanson spent two seasons with the Adirondack Red Wings and returned to the area to take a job with the U.S. Olympic Committee, managing Gore Mountain's Ski Center in North Creek. He then became general manger of the Capital District Islanders, which became the Albany River Rats.
Now, he runs Robert Morris University's hockey rink in Pittsburgh.
Hanson's father is probably more well known for his role as Jack Hanson in the 1977 hockey film "Slap Shot," partially filmed at the Onongada County War Memorial in Syracuse. The elder Hanson still makes appearances wearing his Coke-bottle-thick glasses and putting on the foil before games.
No foil for Christian Hanson, but he did help the Bruins jump out to a 2-0 lead. He got a pass from Carter Camper and hustled past both teams' benches before centering the puck to Lane MacDermid, who banged it past Adirondack goaltender Cal Heeter at the 6:15 mark of the second period.
"Our game plan every day is to establish our forecheck early, get pucks in deep and try to wear the other team's defensemen down," Christian Hanson said. "I think we were able to do that today."
Adirondack made it a game late, getting a goal from Eric Wellwood, but couldn't find the equalizer. Then, Christian Hanson's set-up on Bourque's goal in the final minute secured the win for the Bruins.
"That's something we talk about," he said. "We need to find that killer instinct to put teams away, but you have to take your hat off to this team. They're a highly skilled team. They have a lot of good players and they don't quit. They did the same thing to us in our barn a couple weeks ago and they actually ended up tying it."