USA Hockey Magazine

November 2013

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PUCKS & PATRIOTS 2013 Mark Manney traded in his pilot wings and now spends his days flying around ice rinks in Minnesota. In addition, he routinely deals with all manner of challenges, on and off the ice, in the world of Minnesota high school hockey – injuries, illnesses, concussions and suspensions, just to name a few. "Maybe in about 15 years, I'll be good at this, but some days you just shake your head," Manney joked, admitting that the passion he felt while skating for the Air Force Academy comes out many nights when he leads the Huskies into a hostile environment in opposing rinks, where the band is playing and fans are cheering long before the puck hits the ice. "Any person that's competitive loves to be in those situations," he said. "Selfishly, it's allowed me to stoke my competitive fires through the players. I like to think that keeps me young." One reason for Manney's retirement was to spend more time with family, and he is thankful that in Minnesota he had the chance to watch and coach his son, who is now playing Tier III Junior hockey in Kansas. The elder Manney was clearly very, very good at his job in the cockpit, but he is committed to live in the moment, and only talks about his Air Force days when prodded to do so. "You have to pry it out of him," Perry said. "It's definitely not the first thing that Mark talks about." But even with that part of his life in the past, and the challenge of another high school hockey season ahead, Manney admits to fondly looking back on his many days of taking a decked-out 747 above the clouds, with the leader of the free world resting comfortably in the cabin. "You do miss the excitement and the day-to-day adventure. Every day with the Air Force, there was something different you were trying to tackle," he said. "But in hockey, like in flying, you can't live in the moment. You always have to think in the future." And with that, Manney is taking off again – this time to another hockey rink. N Jess Myers is a freelance writer and youth hockey volunteer in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. "BEING A HOCKEY COACH IS A LOT TOUGHER [THAN FLYING AIR FORCE ONE], AND THAT MAY BE HARD FOR SOME PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND." — MARK MANNEY USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM NOVEMBER. 2013 25

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