© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Former NHL defenseman Dave Manson has been retired for more than a decade as a player, but he still understands the responsibility that comes with being a professional athlete. Manson spends countless hours giving his time to those who need a hand.
When Dave Manson played hockey, there was a definite edge to his game.
He intimidated players, and even entire teams, with his play as he accumulated just under 2,800 minutes in penalties in slightly more than 1,100 NHL games.
Off the ice is a different story.
Manson, who has been retired as a professional player for more than a decade and is now an associate coach with the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders, gives freely of his time to help numerous charities. He says that is a responsibility he enjoys.
“That’s part of the package when you sign on (as an NHL player),” explains Manson. “You help whenever you can, whoever you can.”
Manson grew up in Prince Albert and played his junior hockey with the Raiders helping the club win its one and only Memorial Cup in 1985. That same year he was drafted in the first round of the NHL entry draft by the Chicago Blackhawks and when he was finished his career with the Raiders he played 16 seasons in the NHL with stops in Chicago, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Montreal, Dallas and Toronto.
He still has a fondness for Chicago and this past summer made a couple of trips back to the Windy City to help with the annual Blackhawks’ convention and a Kids Network charity. Manson was also in Winnipeg helping current Blackhawk captain Jonathan Toews and former Raider defenseman Shane Hnidy with an event they were hosting and he says he still keeps in touch with several of his former teammates.
Closer to home, Manson was involved in the SPCA’s Paws Fore Life golf tournament at Cooke Municipal Golf Course in July and he is presently working on a KidsSport project which will be hosted next June 6 in Prince Albert. Helping him with that are former WHLers Dane Byers, Joel Broda and Dylan Yeo.
“Coming back to a smaller centre it is great to help out anytime you can,” acknowledges Manson, who has donated autographed jerseys and photos to numerous other events so that more funds can be generated.
Although he no longer plays in the NHL he still follows the league closely and he says he doesn’t like what is happening right now with labour negotiations apparently stalling and a third work stoppage in 17 years looming.
“It doesn’t look very positive having been through it as a player,” says Manson. “The same path has been taken every time. History dictates to me it (settlement) won’t happen. I’d be very surprised if (training) camps open.”
His focus now is helping turn around the Raiders’ fortunes as the club gets ready for the 2012-13 WHL season. Once one of the fiercest competitors in the game, Manson has settled into his new role nicely, and quietly, but is always ready to lend a helping hand.