Mar7TueMarch 7, 2023
Thank you to Jesse Florea, Focus on the Family for the Article.
Josh Manson was never a superstar. “Nothing ever came easy for me,” the Colorado Avalanche defenseman says. “I always had to work to get to the next level.” All that work paid off. For the last nine years, Josh has played at the highest level of hockey. And last year his big hits, physical play and timely scoring—including an overtime winner—were key to Colorado winning its first Stanley Cup since 2001. Clubhouse caught up with Josh to talk about growing up with a dad in the NHL, his Stanley Cup highlights and how his faith in Jesus Christ impacts his life.
Question: Your dad, Dave Manson, played 17 years in the NHL. What was it like having a dad who was a professional athlete?
Josh: In my eyes his job was really cool. But I don’t think I really understood that he carried a little bit of celebrity status. I just got to go to the rink with him, watch him play and enjoy him as Dad.
Did you want to follow in his footsteps?
I always wanted to be an athlete. I played lacrosse. I loved golf. There was even a phase where I was really good at track and field and I thought, I’m gonna try and be an Olympian. With Dad playing hockey, it drew me to the sport. When did you first lace up a pair of skates? I was 3 or 4 when I started skating. But I was probably 5 or 6 when I first started playing hockey.
Did you always play defense?
I was a defenseman up until I was 10. Then I switched to forward. I played forward all the way to 19. That’s when I had a coach who encouraged me to switch back to defense because he thought I’d have a better chance of being drafted. He was bang on. I’m very thankful for his advice.
You were selected in the sixth round of the NHL draft. Did you expect to go higher?
I didn’t expect to get drafted at all. When I went in the sixth round, I was happy to get selected. It affirmed there was a chance I could make this my career.
You got traded from the Anaheim Ducks to Colorado last year. What were your thoughts of joining the Avs?
I was nervous because it’s such a good team and I wanted to fit in. I knew there was a lot of opportunity here, but that comes with pressure. I hoped to bring some physicality and a bit of steadiness defensively. Because our team is so offensive, I tried to get the puck out of the defensive zone quickly and into the forwards’ hands.
What was the biggest moment you had during the Stanley Cup playoffs?
The overtime winner in Game 1 against St. Louis was the biggest goal I’ve ever scored. But even more so in my mind is a goal I blocked in Game 6. St. Louis was on a power play, and we were down 2-1. Our goalie was down when the Blues took a shot that I skated back to block. We ended up coming back and winning that game 3-2 with 5 seconds left.
Your Dad never won the Stanley Cup, how did he react after you’d won?
He was at game 6 in Tampa Bay when we won, so were my in-laws, my wife, my sister and my daughter. Right after we won, I saw them waving at me from the stands. That was the best! I’d dreamed of it since I was a kid.
When did you put your faith in Christ?
I wasn’t a Christian when I came into the NHL. Actually, I gave my life to Christ in 2018. Growing up, it’s not that I didn’t believe in God. I just didn’t acknowledge Him. When I met my future wife in California, she said that she was a Christian and that we would need to go to church. She was raised in a family of strong believers. She never pressured me, but I started to go to church and reading books to get a better understanding of Christianity. Eventually, I couldn’t deny the truth and ended up giving my life to Jesus.
Since becoming a Christian, have you experienced any negativity about your faith?
In my work, people are mature enough to understand and respect people’s decisions in life. After I became a Christian, I tried to change my mouth. Swearing is a big thing in hockey. As soon as I went to Colorado, people would say, “You don’t swear. Is it a religious thing or whatever?” And I said, “Yeah, it’s a religious thing. I try not to swear.” So people notice it and have a respect for it.