Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1976-77 Charlestown Chiefs Reg Dunlop Jersey

Born on this date in 1925, actor Paul Newman is known for many of his film roles, including Luke Jackson in Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Fast Eddie Felson in The Color of Money, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1986.

Following his service in the Navy during World War II, which included time as a turret gunner on a bomber during the Battle of Okinawa, he went to acting school and made his first film in 1954 and earned his first nomination for an Academy Award in 1958 for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

He would receive further nominations for The Hustler in 1961, Hud in 1963, Cool Hand Luke in 1967 and discover his passion for auto racing in 1968 while filming Winning, centered around the Indianapolis 500.

However, hockey fans know Newman best as "Reg" Dunlop in the classic 1977 movie Slap Shot.


Written by Nancy Dowd, Slap Shot, about the downtrodden Charlestown Chiefs and their change in fortunes with the arrival of the notorious Hanson Brothers, draws heavily from the real life Johnstown Jets and the Carlson Brothers, Jack, Steve and Jeff.


In addition, the real life Goldie Goldthorpe, is clearly the inspiration for the character of Ogie Ogilthorpe, who was played in the film by writer Dowd's brother Ned, who inspired Nancy and assisted her by collecting stories while playing in the minors.


Jack Carlson was supposed to portray one of the three Hanson brothers in the film, however he was called up to play in the WHA with the Edmonton Oilers during filming. In his place, Dave Hanson was chosen to join Jeff and Steve as the third Hanson brother with actor Jerry Houser cast into Hanson's original role as Dave "Killer" Carlson, which was based on Dave Hanson.

In the movie, the Chiefs, members of the Federal League, are a downtrodden club in financial trouble, mainly due to unemployment issues facing the town, and are due to fold at the end of the season.

During the course of the season the club adds the Hanson Brothers, an immature trio of horn-rimmed glasses wearing thugs player/coach Dunlop is reluctant to even let on the ice. Finally, the Hansons hit the ice and complete mayhem follows as the Hansons hit everything in sight - that is when they aren't fighting everyone in sight. The fans in Charlestown go crazy at the antics of the Hansons, something Dunlop can't help but notice. As the Hansons are given more ice time, the fans at the games grow in number and enthusiasm, even following the team on road trips. Soon their teammates begin to adopt the Hansons violent, high-sticking, brawling style of play, at the urging of Dunlop.

Meanwhile, Dunlop keeps the team's morale up by fabricating a story about the potential sale and relocation of the club to a buyer who would move the franchise to Florida. In the end, Dunlop confesses to the team before the final and deciding championship playoff game that there is no secret buyer and the team is in fact, playing their final game. And if it is to be his final game, Dunlop wants to go out playing clean and with dignity, which the rest of the Chiefs agrees to. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, their violent, yet successful ways have influenced their opponents, the Syracuse Bulldogs, to round up the largest collection of thugs possible, including Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken, Gilmore Tuttle, Andre "Poodle" Lussier, Ross "Mad Dog" Madison, Clarence "Screaming Buffalo" Swamptown and none other than rookie Ogie Ogilthorpe.

After being battered by the Bulldogs, the Chiefs finally fight back and the game degenerates into a brawl, with only the Chiefs Ned Braden refusing to participate. Braden "fights back" by going onto the ice in the middle of the melee and shocks everyone by performing an impromptu strip-tease, which causes all the combatants to stop and stare in bewildered amusement.

McCracken demands that the referee stop Braden, and when he refuses, McCracken slugs the referee, who disqualifies the Bulldogs, giving the Chiefs the championship and the trophy, which Braden joyfully skates around while wearing nothing but his jockstrap.

The movie has attained cult status in the hockey community, often cited as the #1 hockey movie of all time. Many classic quotes from the film have woven their way into the hockey vocabulary, such as
  • "You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes by yourself, you know, and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free."
  • "Ok guys. Show us what you got."
  • "Hey Hanrahan! She's a lesbian!"
  • "Dave's a mess."
  • "The fans are standing up to them! The security guards are standing up to them! The peanut vendors are standing up to them! And by golly, if I could get down there, I'd be standing up to them!"
  • "puttin' on the foil!"
and of course,
  • "Old time hockey, like Eddie Shore, Dit Clapper and Toe Blake. Those guys were the greats!"

The Carlson brothers would all go on to have professional careers, which included all three brothers playing for the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA, glasses and all, at the same time during the 1975-76 season, which should be noted was based on merit and not an attempt to capitalize on the fame of the movie, which would not even be released until 1977.


Jack Carlson would play in 272 games in 5 WHA seasons and 236 games in 6 NHL seasons. Steve Carlson totaled 173 WHA games and 52 NHL games in 5 combined seasons, while Jeff Carlson skated in 7 WHA games plus nine more minor league seasons.

The "Hanson Brothers" have also attained cult status on their own, as Steve Carlson, Jeff Carlson and Dave Hanson continue to make personal appearances as The Hansons and have even been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In addition, it's nearly impossible to attend and NHL game in person without seeing a Chiefs jersey in the stands, as they continue to be sold to this day, over thirty years after the movie's original release.


Today's featured jersey is a 1976-77 Charlestown Chiefs Reg Dunlop jersey. The classic Charlestown Chiefs jersey was patterned after the Johnstown Jets jerseys, which in turn came from their parent club, the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA.

While we have taken care to match the fonts for the back and sleeve numbers to those used on the jerseys worn by Paul Newman in the movie, which are not exactly the same, we did stray from authenticity a bit by adding the name "DUNLOP" to the back of our jersey, as none of the Chiefs jerseys in the movie had names on the back. Our jersey was originally purchased blank for a bargain price and did not come with the Charlestown All American City patch on the shoulder like those worn in the movie. If we are able to obtain one at some point, we will certainly add it to our jersey at that time.

Humorously, many of the Chiefs jerseys sold feature #16 on one sleeve, #17 on the back and #18 on the other sleeve to represent all three Hanson Brothers on the same sweater.

Charlestown Chiefs 77 jersey photo CharlestownChiefs77F.jpg
Charlestown Chiefs 77 jersey photo CharlestownChiefs77B-1.jpg

Plenty of video options today, but no better place to start than with the original movie trailer for Slap Shot.


Next up, the Hansons take to the ice for the first time, and the game of hockey will never be the same.


Here is a look back at Slap Shot on the 25th Anniversary of the movie's release, in two parts.



Here is David Letterman's tribute to Paul Newman, who happens to be a fellow Indy Car team owner.


Next, a look back at the films and life of Paul Newman - philanthropist, actor and sportsman.



2 comments:

  1. Well done. I do see a Chiefs jersey at most games. I was watching a Blackhawks @ Coyotes game with some other bloggers at a bar, and three guys at the game were in full Hanson Bros. getup (this was a bit before Halloween) and that prompted a lot of yelled quotes in the bar.

    One additional detail: I don't know how long they've used the name, but the ECHL team in Johnstown now is the Chiefs. I saw them play in Cincinnati last night...

    ReplyDelete
  2. The guys were back at a Coyotes game in full Hanson bros. getup were back earlier this month.

    ReplyDelete

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