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Hansberry scores early, often

December 6, 2007

One look at Derek Hansberry’s collection of jerseys shows the many places he has played, but his time at UW-River Falls might be his most impressive. 

A business management major from Arvada, Colo., Hansberry is in his third year playing forward for the Falcons men’s hockey team.

He has been one of the team’s strongest offensive players ever since coming to UWRF.

Playing on the same line as TJ Dahl and Patrick Borgestad for the past two years, Hansberry has helped to create a formidable Falcon offense.

“We got paired up, and right away we kind of clicked,” Dahl said. “It’s a dream come true to have a line mate that’s such a talented player.”

In Hansberry’s freshman year he was named to the All-NCHA team and the All-WIAC team and was named the Falcons’ Most Valuable Player. That year he led the team with 18 goals and 33 points and was second with 15 assists.

Last season he led the team in goals again, with 21, and was a member of the All-NCHA and All-WIAC teams for the second year in a row.

Leading the team in goals two straight years and already with 10 this year, Hansberry is rapidly climbing the Falcon all-time leader board. Halfway through his third year he already has 49; the all-time Falcon record is 78, which is held by Mike Kelly, who played from 1980 to 1984, and Brian Wilson, who played from 1993 to 1997.

“He definitely has the ability [to set the record] but things have to go your way,” head coach Steve Freeman said.

Hansberry did not get into hockey until he was around 12 years old.

“The neighbors up the street were playing roller hockey and it looked fun, so I started and one thing led to another,” he said.

He started by playing on defense but soon switched to offense.

“I wasn’t very good at skating backwards,” he said.

Hansberry’s high school did have hockey, so he played club hockey in Arvada until he got to junior hockey.

The junior level is where most players spend time at before making the jump to Div. III. Hansberry played for three years in juniors, for three different teams. He was scouted by the Bozeman (Mont.) Icedogs of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and played his first half year there.

He was then traded to the Central Texas Blackhawks where he played for a year-and-a-half, before being traded again, this time to the Wichita Falls (Texas) Wildcats, where he played his last year. 

“Central Texas was kind of going downhill, so I asked to be traded,” he said.

After playing for Wichita Falls, Hansberry came to UWRF for the 2005-06 season.

“The coaches called me and I looked at the Web site and it looked like a decent school, but I never actually visited here,” he said. “And I could see that they were a powerhouse in the league.”

Hansberry’s post college plans probably will not include hockey.

“There are a couple teams back in Colorado in one of the lower end leagues that I would maybe do for a year just to say I played pro hockey,” he said. “I’d love to keep playing, but maybe in two years it will be time to hang ‘em up.”

But the potential is there to go into the professionals. 

“He could make some money playing hockey after college,” Freeman said.

After graduation he said he is likely to go back to Colorado, but is not sure what kind of job he will get.

“Eventually I’d like to have my own gym because I like to work out,” he said. “It’s not too easy to start one when you don’t have any capital though.”

No matter what direction he goes after college, Hansberry has been an asset to Falcon hockey. 

“You can’t say enough good things about him,” Freeman said. “He is definitely one of the top players that have ever played here at River Falls”