116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE — His hockey career started out with a lot of stability, but it’s been all over the place since then. Literally.
That puck’s a keeper.
“Your first pro goal is always special,” Hanson said. “My dad collects pucks from everywhere I’ve played, against teams that I’ve played against, too. I try and steal one everywhere I go. He’ll get that one for sure. He’s got all my firsts. He loves collecting them, and I can’t wait to give it to him.”
Hanson, 25, is from Boise, Idaho, not exactly known as a hockey hotbed. He fell in love with the sport attending games of the hometown Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL.
Now he’s playing in the league, though he took a circuitous route to get there. Hanson spent three seasons of junior hockey with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League, setting the club’s record for most games played with 169.
Then it was off to college at St. Lawrence University in New York, where he played three years. It only took him that long to get his degree, which gave him the option to move to another school to play.
That school turned out to be Denver, which was his dream school. The COVID-19 pandemic gave him another year of college eligibility, so he transferred yet again last season, this time to Northern Michigan.
He turned pro last spring, playing nine games with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers. Hanson went to training camp this season with the Jacksonville Icemen of the ECHL but was acquired in a trade by the Heartlanders just before the season opener.
“I think it’s kind of funny to look at,” Hanson said. “I didn’t get traded once in junior, set a games-played record there, then I go to three different schools. But each place holds a special spot in my heart. I’ve learned a lot from every single spot that I’ve been at, grateful for every minute of opportunity I’ve gotten at each place. I think that’s just kind of shaped me into the person I am today, learning from adversity, learning something from each of those spots.”
Hanson played in Iowa’s first three games, then missed a good chunk of time with an injury. He’s getting back into the swing of things and hopes his first pro goal will be the start of some good things moving forward.
“It was a battle to get back,” Hanson said. “But I feel like I took a step this weekend, for sure. Hopefully I can keep moving forward and make an impact for this team.”
Iowa dropped all three games at Xtream Arena over the weekend to Toledo, losing 6-1, 5-0 and 5-1. It is 7-20-8-1 for 23 standings points, last out of seven teams in the Central Division and second to last in the ECHL overall.
The Heartlanders hope to get back on track this coming weekend with three more home games, all against the Fort Wayne Komets, on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
A celebration for Coach Mark Carlson has been put on hold until at least Friday.
Carlson’s RoughRiders split a pair of games against Green Bay over the weekend, beating the Gamblers on the road, 6-2, then losing to them at ImOn Ice, 3-2, in a shootout.
The only head coach Cedar Rapids ever has had is at 749 wins in his illustrious, 23-year career. He’ll get a chance to hit that special 750 mark this weekend, as the RoughRiders host Muskegon for games Friday night and Saturday night.
Carlson is second in United States Hockey League history in wins, trailing only P.K. O’Handley, who retired after accumulating 783 league victories with Waterloo and North Iowa.
Martins Lavins and Jacob Kraft had a pair of goals each for the RoughRiders in Friday’s win. Zaccharya Wisdom hit the 20-goal mark this season Saturday.
Cedar Rapids is 16-11-3-2 for 37 standings points, which is tied for fourth place in a very tight Eastern Conference. Chicago leads with 47 points, with Green Bay second with 40 and Youngstown third with 38.
Dubuque is sixth with 36. Muskegon is seventh with 32.
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