It's been fifty years or more since Bill Hannan first laced up the skates for his only son, and he remains as proud today as ever of the on-ice accomplishments of Dave Hannan.
Now 56 years of age and living in the Pittsburgh area, Dave is one of ten new inductees into the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame. And while he fully intends to be on hand come the night of the ceremony (Wednesday, June 13th), it was his father representing him at a breakfast gathering last week in the Nickel City.
"We moved to Levack when he was three years old, and Levack minor hockey was a big thing back then," suggested (Bill) Hannan. "We went out for tryouts with one of the young teams and he looked pretty good, and everybody was talking about his skating ability. I never wanted to think too far ahead, so we kind of just played it year by year."
It was a far different era, well before the notion of "helicopter parents" even existed. Still, Hannan ensured that his son would receive the type of guidance and support that would eventually prove to be the foundation of an NHL career that lasted 16 years in total, accumulating 841 games of service time.
"I refereed hockey for quite a few years and my wife ran the concessions at the Levack Arena, so we were always tied up with hockey in some respect, said Hannan. "Dave loved hockey and when he joined something, I wanted him to understand that you belong to it now and you have to stay with it."
A four year veteran of the OHL (Ontario Hockey League), Dave Hannan would truly only rise to prominence in his final season with the Brantford Alexanders (1980-81), exploding for a 46 goal campaign and subsequently selected in the 10th round, 196th overall, in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft.
"The year that he got drafted, there were about 211 players drafted that year," noted his father. "There are only 11 players in that draft that he did not play longer than. With all of those big names, he persisted and kept hanging in there."
"He was dedicated to his team, never gave up," Bill continued. "I was told by many many managers and players that he was very good in the dressing room. People respected the way he played. He was never a big superstar."
Even as Dave meandered his way through NHL stops in Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Toronto, Buffalo, Ottawa and Colorado, his father remained close by. "I got to see quite a few of his games live, mainly in the Pittsburgh area and Toronto," said Bill.
"But I ended up buying the first satellite dish in Levack," he added with a laugh. "I bet I saw 60% to 70% of his games, even though, in those days, we had to turn the dish around and chop the snow off of it."