March 28, 2016

Alan Hangsleben

For such a tiny town, there is a long list of great hockey players to come out of Warroad, Minnesota. The Christian family leads the way, with father Roger winning Olympic gold in 1960. Son Dave won Olympic gold in 1980 and went on to a long NHL career. Henry Boucha had a notable NHL and international career of his own.

Alan Hangsleben also went on to a nice career in the National Hockey League as well as the World Hockey Association.

Hangsleben and Boucha played high school hockey (and football) together, seemingly winning every game although they would drop the state championship game to Edina in 1969. The two future NHLers were paired on the blue line back then, playing every minute of every game, although Boucha missed the game against Edina with an injury. Both would play primarily as a forward in the NHL.

Boucha would off to the military after high school, but was still able to play for Team USA internationally.

Hangsleben left Minnesota to attend the University of North Dakota, studying industrial technology while playing the hockey team. He would play three strong seasons there, serving as co-captain in his senior year.

Both the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL and New England Whalers of the WHA drafted Hangsleben in 1973. He returned to school for his final season, then signed on with the Whalers to turn pro in 1974-75. He would play five seasons with the Whalers, transitioning from a full time defenseman to a full time forward while always being one of the most popular players among the fans. Always hustling, he won team awards for unsung hero and favorite player as chosen by the fans.

Hangsleben stayed with the Whalers when the franchise joined the NHL in 1979-80, though he finished the season in Washington. The next season he transitioned back to a full time defenseman. Either way, he hit hard and was no stranger to the penalty box.

Hangsleben finished his career with a stint in Los Angeles before touring the minor leagues. He retired with 185 NHL games played (21 goals, 48 assists, 69 points). He also played 334 career games in the WHA.

Hangsleben also represented Team USA with pride at three World Championships and at the 1976 Canada Cup.

Hangsleben retired in Maryland and worked for a roofing company. He remained active with the Washington Capitals alumni association.

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