Raider great Manny Viveiros reflects on return to old stomping grounds in Prince Albert

Vancouver Giants head coach Manny Viveiros watches on from behind the Vancouver Giants bench during Tuesday’s game at the Art Hauser Centre. -- Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald

It’s been nearly 40 years since the last time Manny Viveiros was an active player for the Prince Albert Raiders, but the current head coach of the Vancouver Giants still holds the city in high regard.

“It’s always special here. My wife is from Prince Albert and we have a lot of family here and still a lot of friends from the area too.” Viveiros says. “It’s always (nice) to come back. The building, it’s been upgraded but it certainly still has that atmosphere of one of the toughest places to come into if you’re a visiting team, but it’s always real special coming back to Prince Albert.”

Viveiros spent parts of four seasons as a Prince Albert Raider from 1982-1986. In 251 regular season games, he posted 321 points. In 39 postseason games, he added 42 points in the playoffs.

He was selected in the sixth round, 106th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. Following his time in Prince Albert, Viveiros would go onto to have a long pro career with time spent in the NHL, Germany, Italy and Austria.

Viveiros has been around the Western Hockey League in the coaching circuit with stops in Swift Current, Spokane and most recently, the Vancouver Giants where he is in his first season behind the bench.

Viveiros says the Giants are poised to be a contender in the Western Conference in the very near future.

“We got a really young hockey team with a lot of good skill set and also we got some really talented veteran players too. It’s a good mix between both of them too. We’re kind of like Prince Albert where this team also is going to be a really good team in a couple years or so too.”

A former teammate of Viveiros with the Raiders also held a huge role in helping the team return to the Memorial Cup more then 30 years after the team won it all in 1985.

Curtis Hunt took over as general manager for the Prince Albert Raiders prior to the 2015-2016 campaign and helped construct the team that won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in a thrilling seven game series over the Vancouver Giants in 2019.

After getting a long look at the Raiders from behind the bench in a 6-5 shootout win on Tuesday night, Viveiros says the Raiders won’t have to wait long for another deep playoff run under Hunt’s leadership.

“Curtis has done an outstanding job here. Obviously, they won the championship a few years back, but you can see where the team is right now again, and the team is going to be really good in a couple of years. They’ve got good young talent on that team, and they’re going to be really good again. I expect the Raiders to be challenging for a championship in the next couple of years again.”

Earlier this season, the Raiders honored a franchise legend in raising Dan Hodgson’s number 16 to the Art Hauser Centre rafters. Viveiros played alongside Hodgson for three seasons in Hockeytown North.
Although he wasn’t able to attend the retirement ceremony in Prince Albert, Viveiros was still happy to see his old teammate honoured.

“Dan, at that time in that era, he was probably one of the best junior hockey players (in Canada) and certainly was in our league.” Viveiros recalled. “He made our team go and he’s a big reason why we won the Memorial Cup.”