Brandon Manning of Prince George in Philadelphia uniform | Photo Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers/NHL

In the summer of 2016, Brandon Manning signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers worth a total of $1.95 million.

After seven seasons in the Flyers organization, the last three of which were in the NHL, Philadelphia GM Ron Hextall informed the 28-year-old Manning that the team would not be offering him a contract for the 2018-19 season.

As it turned out, the former PG Spruce King and Cariboo Cougar is grateful for the Flyers decision.

He not only signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, but for more than double his previous salary.

“Obviously being in one place for the last seven years or so, changes are coming. The Flyers were straight up with me about not bringing me back and I’ve had some time to process it. Going to Chicago now, I’m really excited about the opportunity there,” said Manning in an interview with www.myprincegeorgenow.com.

“It’s going to be $2 million salary per year and then they throw in a $500,000 signing bonus, so my contract hit will be $2.25 million and hopefully an opportunity to extend that afterwards and maybe stay around Chicago a little bit longer.”

Manning would often get his 15 minutes of ice time as a fifth or sixth defenceman with the Flyers, but he is now looking to expand that role and take on more responsibility.

“When the (Chicago) coaching staff and management brought me in, they told me they’re looking for someone to bring a little bit more of a physical game and a strong defensive presence. I think I’ve proven that I can bring that and chip in occasionally offensively, but I’ve always taken pride in my defense and in my competitive level,” stated Manning.

“It’ll be a bit of an opportunity to grow into a solid top four defenceman there and get some opportunity on the penalty kill and play some good minutes, like I did in Philadelphia, and just continue to grow my game.”

The Blackhawks have aging Duncan Keith (34) and Brent Seabrook (33) as leaders on the back end but after that no one brings close to the 207 NHL games that Manning has.

While Chicago surprisingly missed the playoffs last season, they still have a core of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Keith and Seabrook that have won three Stanley Cups.

Making the transition to the Windy City should be a smooth one.

“I’m coming over from a pretty big city in Philadelphia, so that’s going to be nothing new to me. So far, talking with everybody and getting a feel for the city and the organization it’s been pretty incredible.”

Manning has 212 penalty minutes in his 207 regular season games in addition to 43 points (11 goals).

He is the only current NHL player born and raised in Prince George (Brett Connolly of the Stanley Cup-champion Washington Capitals moved to PG from Campbell River at age 10).

“I was fortunate enough to play my minor hockey here and grow up here and I spend my summers here and train here during the summer too. So I’ve always been proud of where I come from and what kind of hockey I play; you know, it keeps me humble coming back to Prince George.”

Right after signing with the Blackhawks, Manning went on his Mandog twitter account and in a classy move posted the following.

“I am grateful to Philly fans and organization for the support you’ve shown me the past seven years. From my first pro-game as an undrafted free agent for Adirondack, to becoming an AHL all-star in Lehigh Valley, which led to these past three seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a privilege to put on the orange and black. Thank you Philly, for letting me experience firsthand why you’re known as the City of Brotherly Love.”

Manning, a late bloomer, is living proof that hard work, determination and persistence can pay off.

In his case that’s to the tune of millions of dollars.

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FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

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*Sporting News minutes after LeBron James came to terms with the LA Lakers.

 

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*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

 

LaVar Ball says LeBron James will win two titles with Ball’s three sons. Which means LaVar is planning to buy all three of them season tickets.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

 

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*Comedy writer Argus Hamilton

 

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*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The Phillie Phanatic fired a hot dog cannon into the stands and the flying frankfurter hit a fan in the face, giving her a shiner. Anyone else think mascots are an eyesore?

*Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

 

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller