Ty Mason, 16, a Trondek Hwech’in citizen who played for Saskatchewan, won a silver medal in the men’s U18 division of the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) in Membertou, N.S.
Mason lives in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. and plays with the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
This is his first year with the Red Wings. He previously played Midget AAA hockey in Estevan, Saskatchewan.
Mason spoke about his experience at NAHC.
“It was pretty amazing, honestly. Words can’t explain how much fun I had there and how cool it was to go there and the different types of scenery compared to Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.
“The hockey was really good, a lot of close games, a lot of tough fight games that were really fun to play and then obviously winning a silver medal – it was an amazing experience. I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to win a silver medal in such a prestigious tournament in my hockey career, so it was pretty amazing.
One of Mason’s highlights was scoring two goals and an assist in the semi-final match against the Eastern Door team and the North.
The gold medal game was pretty special for Mason and his team.
“In our four round robin games, we won all four and then… we got an automatic bye to the semis. Then we won in the semis…then we played Ontario in the final…we were down 2-0 with (about) 30 seconds left. We scored with 33 seconds left and then with 0.4 to go we also scored to equalize… and in extra time we ended up scoring.
“I’ve never even seen that happen in a hockey game. It was special,” added Mason.
The winning goal was scored about two minutes after extra time.
“At the time, it was devastating,” Mason said.
“We’ve come all this way to win a gold medal so obviously it was devastating that we lost but now looking back it’s pretty special now.”
Regarding his hockey future, Mason’s decision is made.
“My goal right now is to play Division 1 (NCAA) hockey and that’s what I’m thinking now.”
As for playing in the NHL, “it’s almost every hockey player’s dream, to make it to the major leagues, so it’s definitely a dream of mine and that’s what I’m working towards right now. is to make the NHL or the professional leagues,” said The Mason.
Mason may live in Saskatchewan, but his roots are in the Yukon, where his father Willy grew up.
The elder Mason was also at the NAHC tournament.
“It was great. Just to see the team come together like they did. We had a pretty highly skilled team and the way they gelled in such a short time was actually pretty amazing; a good experience for Ty. For me as a parent, it was pretty awesome to witness too.
According to Mason, the Saskatchewan team didn’t have any pre-tournament games, but did hold a few practices.
“We had…two or three weekends set up in Saskatoon where we traveled there. We would be going up on a Saturday morning. We practiced twice that day, then we woke up in the morning, then they practiced again, then we went home… we probably had six or seven practices together.
“They also did a lot of teamwork. They played golf together, they curled and bowled, so there was a lot of activity that kind of brought them together and helped them freeze, there’s no doubt.
Mason said seeing his son win the silver medal was “awesome”.
“Obviously you go there hoping for gold, but you never know what competition you’re going to face…all week we’ve kind of had some hot goalies and some solid teams. We had a chance up front against Ontario – I think we beat them 6-3 in the round robin game, but we knew before the last game it was going to be a tough battle and that been. Their goaltender, I think he stopped almost 60 shots at the end of the game, ”recalls Mason.
“To see Ty win the silver medal was incredible. It was deflating at the time – you want to win the gold – but the silver is no slouch either,” he added.
The elder Mason also thought the finale was quite remarkable.
“It was crazy. I was looking at the Ontario bench… when we scored that goal with 33 seconds left, it was like ‘ok, that’s crazy, that’s probably not going to happen, but this ‘is pretty cool”, and I was watching their bench celebrating and embracing and as I looked up at the ice we scored, and there was about 0.4 seconds left – it was amazing! I couldn’t help it. believe. But yeah, quite the finish. The boys deserved it. So it was good. It was great to see.
Mason thinks his son has a bright future in hockey.
“I think everything is up for grabs for him. That’s what he wants to pursue. He’s doing everything right now, both on and off the ice. He is very disciplined in his schooling and off-ice training and on-ice training. He represents himself very well. The sky is the limit for him.
“He had a big year last year. It was a big learning year, being the youngest player in the SJHL, playing against 20-year-old men, but I think the future is bright for him. “He stays on the right path like he has been, he will go far. He will achieve his goals.
“He’s doing everything he can to help himself get to that next level.”