LEWISTON – Somewhere among the hundreds of names etched into the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s President’s Cup, Paul Manson’s name should appear.

Luc Robitaille, Pat Burns, Benoit Brunet, Wayne Gretzky – and Paul Manson.

But it isn’t there.

In 1985, Manson played for the Hull Olympiques (now the Gatineau Olympiques). Back home in Halifax, the 17-year-old’s girlfriend, JoAnne, was pregnant, and Manson wasn’t doing well academically.

He left the team.

Hull won the President’s Cup that season. Manson watched it on television.

His son, Triston, was born later that summer.

Nearly 21 years later, Triston has finished what his father started. A 20-year-old forward with the Lewiston Maineiacs, Triston’s name will appear on the President’s Cup, just a few shiny, metallic plaques away from where his father’s would have been.

“My whole life, all I’ve wanted to do was to go to the Memorial Cup, even more than the NHL,” Triston said. “More for him than anything. It’s been a big deal for my whole family.”

Growing up, Paul never kept his near-miss a secret. In fact, he used his experience to push his three boys – Triston, Anton and Tanner – to make better academic decisions, at times at the expense of playing hockey.

“We always pushed them, all three boys about balancing school and hockey,” Paul said. “That was one of the main rules we had in our house. With them playing hockey, we wanted effort in school. You don’t have to be a straight-A student, but if you’re not putting out the effort, you’re going to miss some hockey. It happened to all three of them, actually. Some other parents thought we were mean that we didn’t let them play, but took them to the game and let them watch. It’s a rule we had.”

Growing up, Triston found an old newspaper clipping that showed his father with Robitaille, now a hall-of-famer.

But it was in French.

“It’s weird,” Triston said. “My parents had a newspaper clipping with my dad in it with Luc Robitaille and Pat Burns, and it was in French. Since then, I wanted to learn French so I knew what that said.”

When Triston was just 2 months old, Paul returned to the Olympiques. They fell short of the President’s Cup that season, and Paul’s career with them was done. He played some local AAA hockey in Halifax, but his priority was his family.

Paul has been with Triston as much as possible throughout the Maineiacs’ entire playoff run. Triston’s brother, Anton, played for Shawinigan. Lewiston faced Shawinigan in Round 1. The Maineiacs faced the Mansons’ hometown Halifax Mooseheads in Round 2. The family had a front row seat again.

Even in games against Rouyn-Noranda and Val-d’Or in the later rounds, the Mansons appeared at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“He was so pumped the whole time,” Triston said. “He came down the first two games, and he kept saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

“It was great, it was exciting,” Paul said. “We’re so happy for him. That’s one thing he’s always said he wanted to do was play in the Memorial Cup.”

Triston hopes to do his father one better.

“We want the Memorial Cup now,” Triston said with a smile. “Why not go all the way now that we’re there?”

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