COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason has been awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy, given annually "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League," the League and club announced June 18. The other finalists for the Calder Trophy, which was handed out at the 2009 NHL Awards held at the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas, were Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan and Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg.
Steve Mason on NHL Live 6/19/09
"I just want to say congrats to Bobby and Kris on their tremendous seasons," Mason said. "This is a tremendous honor for myself. There have been so many people who have helped me along the way to make this possible. First off, I would like to thank my family, who has been with me since the beginning. I would like to thank the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, starting with the McConnell family, coach Ken Hitchcock and (general manager) Scott Howson and the rest of the Blue Jackets staff for giving me the opportunity to prove that I can play at this level. My teammates deserve a huge thanks, for without them, none of this would have been possible.
"Another reason that I am here is my mentor and goalie coach Dave Rook. I can't thank him enough for transforming my game into what it is today. A big thanks goes to my billets in London and Kitchener, who put up with me for three years. I would also like to thank my family and buddies back home in Oakville, your support has never gone unnoticed. To all the supportive Blue Jackets fans, you guys are awesome in Columbus and are a ton of fun. To the sportswriters association who voted for me, thank you."
Mason, 21, went 33-20-7 with a 2.29 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 61 games this season. His 10 shutouts led the NHL, set a franchise record and were the most by a rookie since Chicago's Tony Esposito posted a rookie record 15 in 1969-70. He ranked second in the NHL in goals-against average and tied for ninth in wins. He posted three-straight shutouts on Dec. 27 vs. Philadelphia, Dec. 29 at Los Angeles and Dec. 31 at Anaheim and in the process set a club record for consecutive shutout minutes by a goaltender at 199:19 between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.
He was twice named the NHL Rookie of the Month, winning the award in November (5-2-1, 2.09 GAA, .919 SV%, two shutouts in eight games) and December (7-5-0, 1.41 GAA, .950 SV%, three shutouts in 12 games). He made a career-high 47 saves on Dec. 17 in a 2-1 OT win vs. San Jose and made 45 saves on Jan. 9 in a 3-0 win at Washington. The Oakville, Ontario native was the Blue Jackets' third pick, 69th overall, in the 2006 Entry Draft.
Mason is the first Blue Jackets player to be awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy. In 2002-03, forward Rick Nash was a finalist for the league's top rookie honor, which was awarded to St. Louis defenseman Barrett Jackman.
Season tickets for the 2009-10 season are on sale now with prices starting at $18 per game. In addition, 10- and 20-Game packages for 2009-10 are also on sale. For information, call (800) NHL-COLS or visit BlueJackets.com.