Born in Cumberland, Wisconsin, Dave grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. While attending St. Paul Humboldt High School, Dave became a member of the National Honors Society for scholastic excellence and was a three-sport star athlete receiving many City and State awards for his athletic achievements. He was sought after by major universities and colleges to play football and hockey and chose to attend the University of Minnesota on a full academic scholarship after then Gopher head coach and future US Olympic Gold medalist hockey legend Herb Brooks recruited him.
Dave left the Gopher’s program early to pursue his hockey career by joining the St. Paul Vulcans Junior team where he won two National Championships and subsequently got drafted by the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League and the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association. He played 10 seasons of professional hockey in almost every pro league that existed between 1974-1984. Dave started his pro career in the minor leagues playing for the Johnstown (PA) Jets and reached the World Hockey Association playing for the Minnesota Fighting Saints, the New England Whalers and the Birmingham Bulls, and the National Hockey League playing for the Detroit Red Wings and the Minnesota North Stars. During his pro career, Dave won two league championships, three playoff championships, was named team MVP and team Captain, scored 300 points (goals & assists) and racked up nearly 3,000 penalty minutes in about 700 games.
Dave retired from playing in 1984 and went into business management. He oversaw a major alpine and cross-country ski area in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, managed two American Hockey League professional minor league hockey teams for the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils, managed the Pittsburgh Penguins practice facility, and is currently the Executive Director of the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh, PA, a multi-sport and family entertainment complex as well as the training and game center for multiple NCAA athletic teams.
Dave appeared in the 1977 feature film classic Slap Shot as Jack Hanson, one of the outrageous Hanson Brothers, along with legendary movie star and great humanitarian Paul Newman. He appeared again in 2002 with his fictitious brothers in the movie Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice, where the Hanson Brothers won the “Best Supporting Actor Award” in a DVD premiere. In 2008 he and his brothers were featured in a third movie titled Slap Shot 3: The Junior League with the great late actor Leslie Nielsen. Dave, with his Hanson Brothers, have appeared in national and international TV and radio commercials for many companies such as Budweiser (Anheuser Busch), Gatorade and Nike. They have been featured in many newspaper and magazines such as the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Maximum, and Hockey News. The Hanson Brother have action figures, bobble heads, trading cards and a large variety of artwork, t-shirts, etc., made of their likeness. In 2008 Dave authored his biography titled Slap Shot Original: The Man, The Foil, The Legend, which has forewords by Bob Costas and Gordie Howe and is published by Triumph Books. Dave and his brothers have traveled the world making appearances throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the UK. Through their appearances, they have helped raised millions of dollars for charitable and needed causes.
Dave, his wife and their family presently reside in Pittsburgh, PA