Retired NHL forward Steve Carlson, best known as one of the enthusiastically aggressive Hanson Brothers in the 1977 cult classic “Slap Shot,” revealed Friday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
Carlson, 66, and his wife, Vicki, established a GoFundMe page, confirming his Oct. 4 diagnosis of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma that has spread to his lymph nodes, WPXI reported.
“Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) generally has a high survival rate,” Carlson wrote in his post, adding, “The 5-year survival is 99% when detected early. Once SCC has spread to the lymph nodes (In my case) and beyond, the survival rates are lower. Yet this cancer is still treatable with surgery and other therapies, even in its advanced stages.”
The funds will be used for treatments Carlson is receiving in Altoona and Pittsburgh, WPXI reported.
The online fundraising plea urges supporters to “Put on the Foil and FIGHT for STEVE CARLSON #17,” referencing a scene from the Paul Newman-anchored sports comedy in which Carlson and his on-screen brothers tape aluminum foil to their knuckles in a bid to up their on-ice fight skills, The Tribune-Democrat reported.
According to the newspaper, Carlson played a prominent role in the Johnstown Jets winning the professional North American Hockey League championship in 1974-75, alongside teammates Dave “Killer” Hanson, captain Galen Head, Guido Tenesi, Vern Campigotto and a host of others.
The team’s vigor and spirit inspired the “Slap Shot” script, and the movie was ultimately filmed in Johnstown the following year, The Tribune-Democrat reported.
“I have been retired for 33 years, and unfortunately I did not play enough games while working in the NHL to qualify for a pension or benefits. I have been completely reliant upon Social Security benefits and attending social appearances. … Put on the Foil. Share this with everyone. It’s the only way it will work,” Carlson wrote.
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