Former London Knights/Kitchener Rangers goaltender Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets was named the National Hockey League’s recipient of the Calder Trophy as the league’s Rookie of the Year at the NHL Awards Ceremony Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Mason was the most recent graduate of the league to claim a major trophy having competed last season with the Knights before joining the Rangers where he won an OHL Championship. The 21-year-old Oakville, ON, native was also a candidate for the Vezina Trophy awarded to the league’s top goaltender after posting a 33-20-7 record with a 2.29 goals-against-average with a league-best 10 shutouts. Mason was a third round selection of the Blue Jackets at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
"For myself, personally, it was a game against San Jose when we beat them 2-1 in OT and I had 48 saves or something like that," Mason told NHL.com. "At the time — they obviously finished No. 1 in the League — they were a powerhouse and we were the underdogs, and it was just a great memory for myself. Obviously there were a lot of key moments along the way in the season, but that is the one that stuck out the most — to shut down a team that had as much firepower as the Sharks did, that was something I was extremely proud of and gave me a lot of confidence moving forward."
Mason played in the OHL for three seasons from 2005-08 and was named the OHL Goaltender of the Year for the 2006-07 season when he won 45 games for the Knights which at the time set an OHL record for most wins in a single season. That year Mason was named a first team all-star, also named to the second all-star team last season. During his OHL career, Mason also competed with Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Hockey Championships where he won a gold medal and was named the tournament’s top goaltender.
Mason edged out former Owen Sound Attack star Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks who scored 31 goals and 26 assists for 57 points in 64 games during his first full NHL campaign. Both Mason and Ryan were named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team along with former Guelph Storm defenceman Drew Doughty.
Last season, former London Knights forward Patrick Kane won the Calder Trophy as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Click here to read more about Canadian Hockey League alumni at the 2008-09 NHL Awards.