Stanley Cup embarks on tour across Saskatchewan

The Colorado Avalanche’s name will be engraved into the Stanley Cup this year, but the team itself is composed of several Saskatchewan athletes.

The National Hockey League’s top trophy began a tour across the province this week. Avalanche defenceman Josh Manson kicked off the guide Wednesday in Prince Albert.

“This is where I grew up and played minor hockey.” says Manson. “So to bring it back here and share it with the people of Prince Albert, it’s special.”

Manson held his day with the cup outside the Art Houser Centre, and says hockey is a big part of the city’s identity.

“I think the passion that Prince Albert gave me for the game of hockey. You grow up and it’s such a big part of the city, and the people here. That’s what really, I guess, carved me out and rooted me in hockey and made me want to have that drive to win the Stanley Cup.”

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“I never thought I’d have a chance to actually be in person with it.” says Kathan Isbister, a local minor hockey player in Prince Albert. “Growing in a small town of Prince Albert, it’s pretty cool to see that someone brought it home.”

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The six-foot-three-inch product is an eight-year NHL veteran. He played seven-and-a-half seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, before being acquired by the Avalanche near this year’s trade deadline. His father, Dave Manson, played 16 seasons in the NHL, and is currently the assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers.

“He was such a good role model for me growing up, and really helped me with my career along the way.” says Manson. “He played for a long time. I’ve just to try and have a piece of what he was able to accomplish in his career.”

Fellow 2022 Stanley Cup champion Ryan Murray had his day with the cup in White City Thursday. The former second overall pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft has logged 432 career NHL games.

The Stanley Cup finally made its way to the Bridge City Friday with goalie Darcy Kuemper.

“Saskatoon’s a special city for me and it’s always going to be my home.”

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The former Avalanche netminder began his day at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, before showcasing the cup at the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS). Family, friends, SPS staff and their families were in attendance.

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“Still surreal.” says Brent Kuemper, Darcy’s father. “You know it’s been quite the summer, it’s been quite the ride. I can’t explain it, I’m happy for him.”

Kuemper joins former Saskatoon Contacts teammate Brayden Schenn, and his brother Luke Schenn, in bringing the cup home to Saskatoon.

“I heard from both of them, we always keep in touch.” says Kuemper. “So they were the last three teams to win it, so they reached out right away and wished me congratulations. It was nice to hear from them.

Kuemper played junior with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League, before being drafted by the Minnesota Wild. He would also go on to play for the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes. In the 2021 offseason, the Colorado Avalanche traded prospect Con Timmins, a 2022 first-round pick, and a conditional 2024 third-rounder for the star netminder.

He says it was special to win it with this group of guys.

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“We’ll be friends forever and we had an amazing team and amazing group of players. You know, (I’m) super glad that we were rewarded by winning it all,” he said.

The Saskatoon product now begins on a new journey in Washington, recently signing a five-year deal worth around $26 million.

As for now, though, Kuemper is taking time to enjoy the rest of his day with Lord Stanley.

“(I’m) going to go show it to the rest of my family and then share it with some friends as well.”

The Stanley Cup will make another stop in Humboldt on Saturday.

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