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Manson headed to the AHL

Manson headed to the AHL
Longtime Prince Albert Raiders assistant coach Dave Manson (right) is on his way to the AHL after spending 15 years on Prince Albert. -- Herald file photo.

After 15 years of coaching in Prince Albert, including 13 with the WHL’s Raiders, Dave Manson is on the move.

On Monday, the Raiders announced that Manson had accepted a job as an assistant coach with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate for the Edmonton Oilers.

Manson said he was sad to leave behind his hometown club, but felt it was the right decision after talking things over with his family.

“It just seemed like a good fit,” he explained. “It was time to take a chance and see if you can make a go of it. The Oiler franchise is up and coming, so that’s the type of thing that I looked at. I have some acquaintances that are working there who I feel very comfortable and confidant working alongside.”

Manson first joined the Raiders’ coaching staff as an assistant in 2002, following a 16-year career in the NHL. He spent seven years with the club before joining the Prince Albert Mintos in 2009. After two years with the Mintos he rejoined the Raiders.

Manson also played his junior hockey for his hometown Raiders. He was a member of the 1984-85 team that won the Memorial Cup.

Although he’s moving on, Manson had nothing but good things to say about the Prince Albert hockey community, and the organization that gave him his first coaching job. During his WHL tenure, Manson worked under coaches Donn Clark, Peter Anholt, Steve Young and Marc Habscheid, along with GMs Bruno Campese and Curtis Hunt. Manson said he was thankful not just for the opportunity, but for the chance to learn the trade.

“I finished playing, and jumping right into the coaching ranks at the WHL level, which is a great, great league, was tough,” he said. “ It’s tougher than people think and I was very fortunate to work alongside those gentlemen. They helped show me the way.”

The Raider front office wasn’t surprised to see Manson make the jump to the AHL. In a media release, GM Curtis Hunt said “it was only a matter of time” before Manson was offered a position, and wished him luck with the Condors.

Bakersfield heads into the season with a rookie head coach in Jay Woodcroft, who spent 13 years as an assistant in the NHL. That time included a three-year stint with the Detroit Red Wings, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2008. Manson said the chance to work with Woodcroft, and some friends in the Oiler front office, was too good to pass up.

Despite making the move, he still plans to call Prince Albert home in the off-season, even thought it’s going to be a long trip from California back to Northern Saskatchewan.

“Prince Albert’s always been my home,” Manson said. “I’ve always come back and will continue to do so. Even when I played, our whole family always enjoyed coming back home.”