The Stanley Cup made a trip to Prince Albert on Wednesday morning courtesy of former Prince Albert Minto Josh Manson.
Manson, a member of the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, met with minor hockey players and local hockey fans outside the Art Hauser Centre, with the Stanley Cup in tow.
“This is where I grew up and played my minor hockey, so to be able to bring it back here and share it with the people of Prince Albert, it’s very special,” Manson said in an interview after posing for photos for 90 minutes with young Prince Albert hockey fans.
“Whenever you’re a hockey player, when you’re growing up, you want to win the Stanley Cup.”
Manson suited up for 20 games during Colorado’s run to the championship. He put up three goals and five assists during that span, along with 12 penalty minutes.
He said it was difficult to describe what it meant to win a Stanley Cup after nine seasons in the NHL.
“You never know if you’re going to attain it, you always hope. To finally do that, to live out your dream as a hockey player, and then to be able to share it with your family and the people in the city where you grew up and supported you, you can’t put that into words. It’s very special.”
Josh’s father, Dave Manson, played in the NHL from 1986 to 2002, and came very close to winning the Stanley Cup in 2000 when he played for the Dallas Stars. After a stint as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders, the elder Manson moved on to the AHL, and eventually the NHL where he is currently an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers.
The playoffs pitted father against son, with Dave’s Oilers against Josh’s Avalanche. The Avalanche prevailed, but the elder Manson has nothing but pride for his son.
“I know he beat us (the Oilers), but we’re very proud of his accomplishments,” Dave said. “For him to reach the pinnacle in your sport, that’s very hard to get to do, and we’re very proud and very excited.
“I’m very proud of him to remember his roots, where he grew up. Hopefully a lot of young kids see that these things are possible. I’m thankful for all the people coming out today.”
The parking lot at the Art Hauser Centre was packed in the morning, with parents of minor hockey players bringing their children to get a shot with Josh Manson and the Stanley Cup. What part of Prince Albert did Manson see that he brought to the Championship title?
“For me, it’s the passion that Prince Albert gave me for the game,” Manson said. “It’s such a big part of the city, and the people here. That’s what really carved me out and rooted me in playing hockey and gave me that drive to win the Stanley Cup, and made it such a big part of my life.
“I’d love to bring it back next year, that’s for sure, but that was the hope, by bringing it here and sharing it with minor hockey players of Prince Albert that one day, that’ll give then a little bit of extra drive to achieve their goals.”
What was it like for the younger Manson, to share the experience with his father?
“It’s amazing,” Manson said.
“He (Dave Manson) was such a great role model for me growing up and really helped me with my career along the way. He played for a long time, so I just wanted to try and have a piece of what he was able to accomplish in his career.”
The 34.5 pounds of silverware, also known as the Stanley Cup, feels lighter upon being hoisted over one’s head, but its weight can be a bit cumbersome. Even so, the goal was an attainable one.
“The goal seems so far away when you’re just playing hockey,” Josh said. “It’s a tough goal, but now that you get a piece of it, it feels so special and it feels so good. When you lift (the Stanley Cup) over your head, the moment that the emotions come, and all that stuff, it really fuels you to win it again. That’s a goal for next year.”