Boston Bruins: 4 Forwards Bringing NHL Bloodlines to the Organization

Al DanielCorrespondent IIOctober 9, 2012

TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 6:  Lane MacDermid #64 of the Boston Bruins shoots during warmup before NHL action at the Air Canada Centre March 6, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

Lane MacDermid, born in Hartford, Conn. during his father’s final days as a Whaler, has more than established himself as his own player in the bordering state’s capital. He has, in essence, reached point of being the Bruins’ minor-league version of Shawn Thornton as he enters his fourth season in Providence.

His act of following one’s father’s path to the NHL with an extended stop at the Dunkin Donuts Center is about to become instantaneously trendy. Over the course of the 2012-13 season, the gritty AHL veteran will be joined by up to three offseason imports with past family ties to the Bruins or to Rhode Island hockey.

Chris Bourque, the ornate AHL veteran and son of the former Boston captain, is the biggest bear in the den from a PR standpoint. A longtime Hershey Bear and Washington Capitals farmhand, the younger Bourque was instrumental in terminating the P-Bruins’ last Calder Cup playoff run in 2009 and will now be banked on to end the organization’s postseason drought.

Christian Hanson, another seasoned AHLer bound for Providence, is the son of Slap Shot actor and former real-life journeyman, Dave Hanson. One of the elder Hanson’s 14 stops in an 11-year playing career was the P-Bruins’ predecessor in the formative years of the venue formerly known as the Providence Civic Center.

While bound for the ECHL to start the 2012-13 season, Justin Courtnall stands favorable odds of playing for a professional hockey team by the name “Bruins” at some point this campaign. When and if he is called up to Providence, he will join the company of his father, Geoff, in donning some form of black-and-gold Bruins garb.

The four fathers of these P-Bruins combined to play 3,384 NHL games. Throw in Dave Hanson’s 103 WHA twirls and it’s actually a cumulative 3,487 “major league” hockey games.

The combined connections also have dense roots in the three capital cities of the southern New England states.

Naturally, Bourque and Courtnall had their protracted tenures in Boston. The elder MacDermid played his first 373 NHL games with the Hartford Whalers while the elder Hanson suited up for one regular-season and one playoff contest with the WHA’s New England Whalers.

That same year, in 1976-77, the year his silver screen smash was released, Hanson tallied 12 points and 98 penalty minutes in 27 appearances with the Rhode Island Reds.

Uncannily enough, not unlike the Charlestown Chiefs in the movie, the Reds were history after that year, bound for Binghamton, N.Y., where they later morphed into Paul MacDermid’s AHL club. Today, the former Reds are now based in the younger MacDermid’s native Hartford, where they answer to the name Connecticut Whale.

From a practical, present-day perspective, the younger Courtnall is merely hoping to justify his decision to leave Boston University a year early. The other three second-generation pros should join Providence captain Trent Whitfield and the 27-year-old Jamie Tardif in lending head coach Bruce Cassidy a wealth of up-front veteran presence.

The younger Bourque (392), MacDermid (222) and Hanson (148) have combined for 762 AHL games alone. MacDermid can tally satisfactory fourth-line numbers (i.e. points in the upper teens) while the two newcomers have all but facilely cracked double digits in the goal and assist columns on a yearly basis.

Barring any summons to the parent club in Boston if and when the NHL’s 2012-13 season commences, all three figure to be fixtures in Providence from this week straight through the coming spring.