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'Slap Shot' helped set tone for 'Semi-Pro'

(Credit: Watchdog)

Will Ferrell's latest sports spoof, "Semi-Pro," which opened today, includes many obvious echoes of the classic hockey flick "Slap Shot," from the wild brawling to the doomed, low-rent franchise to the romantic subplot.

That's not an accident.

Ferrell said he watched "Slap Shot" before doing the film, and director Kent Alterman said, "'Slap Shot' was a great reference for us tonally. It was inspiring to us."

Speaking of "Slap Shot," on SportsCenter Sunday night ESPN will profile Christian Hanson, a junior center at Notre Dame, and his father, Dave, one of the infamous "Hanson Brothers."

Click below for another free programming ad for ESPN, as I lazily reprint a news release verbatim.SportsCenter’s featured piece Sunday, March 2, will profile Christian Hanson, a junior center on Notre Dame’s ice hockey team, and his father, Dave Hanson, who played one of the brutal-yet-beloved “Hanson Brothers” in the 1977 classic Slap Shot. Dave describes his life-changing role as Slap Shot’s Jack Hanson, who made his way to the highest levels of professional hockey as an enforcer, while Christian, who has devoted a large part of his life to the sport, never saw his father’s movie until he was a teenager. Reporter Chris Connelly interviewed Dave, now a manager of the Robert Morris University Island Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, at the Cambria County War Memorial Auditorium in Johnstown, Pa., where Slap Shot was filmed.

Excerpts from Sunday’s piece on a “Hanson Brother” Father & Son

"I probably didn't see it (Slap Shot) until I was about 13 years old, and I'm just sitting there watching and I'm actually befuddled. My dad is up there hackin' and whackin' and beatin' guys up, and swearing. I never saw any of this at home." -- Christian Hanson

"We weren't acting. I think it was more difficult for the actors to play hockey players than it was on us trying to play hockey players ‘cause we weren't acting. We more or less improvised almost everything and kinda did what we wanted to do ourselves." -- Dave Hanson, on his role as a Hanson Brother

"I left nothing in the locker room. I left everything on the ice, and that often meant dropping the gloves and knocking the snot out of the other guy." -- Dave Hanson, on his role in Slap Shot

"You ask any of my friends, anybody I'm around, and they say, 'It's amazing with Mr. Hanson, he's just so laid back and so quiet and such a nice person,' and then you see the movie, and you watch footage of what he did, and he was a warrior." -- Christian Hanson, on his on-screen and real-life father

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