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Stanley Cup Final

Mason watched American college game grow

Monday, 12.02.2013 / 6:25 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / 2013 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame blog

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2013 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame blog
Mason watched American college game grow

DETROIT -- Ron Mason was there for the giant landscape change in NCAA hockey.

Mason’s 36-season college coaching career started at Lake Superior State University in 1966, and he said most of his players came from just over the border in Ontario. It was a similar situation when he went to Bowling Green State University in 1973.

“When I started coaching, I was in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and we had a few kids from the Soo, but most of them were from across the road in Ontario,” Mason said. “When I went to Bowling Green, we were mostly Canadians."

Mason said the big change began during his tenure at Michigan State University, where he coached from 1979 until he retired in 2002.

“When I came into Michigan State and inherited the team, maybe 25 percent were American kids,” he said. “And when I left 75 percent were American kids. Just completely swung around.”

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That's a really tough thing to play through; when you finally are thrown out there, the game is fast, intense, every single play matters, you've got to find a way to play through that and make smart plays. So it's a huge testament to [Vermette] and some other individuals in our locker room that are putting their own ego, their own wants and needs aside, and are ready for those opportunities when they do come.

— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on teammate Antoine Vermette, who returned from being a healthy scratch in Game 3 to score the double-overtime winner in Game 4