Lane Manson, a draft pick of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers who played professionally in the East Coast Hockey League (sic) the last four seasons, told Huskies coach Greg Jockims on Tuesday that he is ready to play some basketball.
The 6-foot-9, 260-pound Manson, who drew rave reviews from Jockims before choosing hockey over basketball, retired from the Wheeling Nailers at the start of this week.
He is enrolling in school, begins practising with the team next week, and could play after Christmas.
I'll always remember him as the only player to start crying during an interview for me. Actually, the "during an interview" part is not quite accurate. After losing to the Alaska Aces in the Kelly Cup finals in 2006, we were talking off the record about his future, and he started talking about how he had wanted to win it for the retiring Cam Brown, and there came the tears. I asked him if he wanted to put that part on tape and he did, so he said it again for me. It was a pretty emotional night, and Lane's a pretty emotional guy. Smart too, so he'll do well in college. Good luck to him.
Note: this makes two former Thrasher draft picks who have retired from hockey while playing for the Wheeling Nailers this year (Mike Vannelli is the other). Must be a rough time.