Fall 2022

Josh Manson helps Colorado Avalanche win first Stanley Cup in 21 years with God as his foundation

It is only fitting the Colorado Avalanche’s first Stanley Cup triumph in 21 years was clinched on the road in a game it trailed. Sunday night’s 2-1 victory was Colorado’s 10th comeback win of the postseason, tying the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins for the all-time record.

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The Avalanche lost just four games in the playoffs and clinched all four of their series away from home. It is the first team ever to win four series with come-from-behind victories in a single postseason, and in doing so prevented the Tampa Bay Lightning from becoming the first team to three-peat since the New York Islanders from 1980-83.

“Just to share it with people you love, that’s what it’s all about,” star center Nathan McKinnon said after the game. “It’s not really about me. It’s about sharing it with my teammates and my family. It means everything.”

An excellent regular season that saw the team set a franchise record with 119 points set the stage for a dominant playoff run. Unsatisfied with four straight exits before the conference finals — the most recent two as the higher seed — general manager Joe Sakic brought in reinforcements at the trade deadline to bolster a roster already loaded with talent.

One of the most notable additions was defenseman Josh Manson, who arrived in a deal with the Anaheim Ducks in March. Manson helped solidify Colorado’s defense and made timely offensive contributions throughout the playoffs. He compiled three goals and five assists in Colorado’s 20 playoff games after producing seven points in 22 regular-season contests with the team.

He scored the game-winner in overtime of Game 1 of his team’s second-round series with the St. Louis Blues, got his second career postseason goal in the Western Conference Finals and found the back of the net again in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

And Manson teamed up with MacKinnon and fellow trade-deadline acquisition Artturi Lehkonen for what turned out to be the decisive goal after MacKinnon tied the game at one in the second period.

“You have to have that desperation because it’s the finals,” Manson said Friday night after the Avs failed to clinch the series at home. “You can’t look at the amount of games that we have left. You have to be desperate every single game.”

As he found his footing in Colorado, the 30-year-old defenseman has leaned on his faith in Christ. He says it didn’t develop until later in his life and started with a prayer uttered out of sheer desperation. He was in college and his mom had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma. She was given three months to live.

When Manson heard the news, he got down on his knees and prayed for his mom to be healed. He promised that if it happened, he would give his life to God. Manson’s mom was put on a trial drug and declared cancer-free after four treatments.

“It was a miracle, and God did that,” he said while recalling the story in a “Best Day Ever” video for Sports Spectrum released earlier this month. “There’s no other way to describe it. And I did not fulfill my promise that I made to God months earlier when I found out she had terminal cancer.”

A few months later, he met the woman who would eventually become his wife. As she explained how important her faith was to her, Manson thought back to his prayer.

“I knew it from the moment I met her, that she was going to be my wife,” he said in the video. “On our second date, she told me that she was a Christian and that she believed in God, and that I would have to go to church with her, and what I did with it from there would be up to me. But I remembered the promise that I made to God.”

Manson then read the book “More Than a Carpenter” by Sean and Josh McDowell. After he finished it, he said a prayer in an empty hotel room and gave his life to Christ.

His faith has continued to grow during his eight seasons in the NHL. In December, Manson wrote a piece for The Increase discussing life as a Christian professional hockey player and how his perspective changed after the birth of his first child.

“When I held my baby for the first time, I thought, ‘Wow, this is how Jesus loves me,’” he wrote in the piece. “If my child ever walked away from me and distanced herself, that would make me so incredibly sad. I would want to bring her closer to me. That realization really brought things into perspective for me because I know my Heavenly Father feels the same way about me.”

Now a free agent, Manson will rely on God’s guidance as he determines the next step in his hockey journey. Shortly after being traded to Colorado, he told The Athletic he would be interested in staying with the team long-term. Winning a Stanley Cup certainly doesn’t hurt his interest level either.

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