From Canwest News Services (06.15.09)
One of the players who may take centre stage at the National Hockey League awards in Las Vegas on Thursday is Steve Mason.
The Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender, who is vying for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie, nearly quit hockey four years ago.
Seeing limited action in 2005-06 with the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights and playing away from his Oakville, Ont., home, he wasn’t sure how to handle it.
“I was really frustrated,” Mason, 21, told the Columbus Dispatch. “I called home a lot, because there were more than a few days when I thought I just wanted to walk away. I thought I’d go back to playing hockey with my friends, go back to a regular school and get on with my life.”
This year, however, his dedication has paid off.
He was second among NHL goalies with a goals-against average of 2.29 and led the league with 10 shutouts. He also was ninth in wins (33) and 11th in save percentage (.916).
“His dad took most of those phone calls (in 2004),” Mason’s mom, Donna Mason, told the newspaper. “We always knew he was just going through a rough patch, like all athletes – all kids – do from time to time. We thought if he got through it, he’d be OK.
“But I didn’t have a clue he’d end up where he is today. This is every kid’s dream.”
NHL Feature Video on Mason as the NHL Awards is held in a few days-