Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Hockey fans in the Northland may recognize one of the Wild's coaching staff. After all, his picture is scattered around AMSOIL Arena.
He is former UMD Bulldogs goaltender Bob Mason.
"I had a lot more hair," Mason said. "That's what all the guys are saying. They look at the goalie equipment, little teeny pads and a short glove. I had 32–inch goalie pads, and they're all wearing 36–inches now, so the gear has changed. It's good, though. I've got a lot of great memories here."
The International Falls native played two seasons with UMD, parts of eight seasons in the NHL, and was on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, experience Wild head coach Mike Yeo calls very beneficial.
"Having been there, having gone through all those situations, felt all those emotions, he knows how to best deal with these guys, how to help them prepare, and how to deal with when things are going when and when things aren't going well," Yeo said. "He's obviously got a very important job, and he's done a great job of it."
On this trip, Mason was working with one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, Niklas Backstrom, and an unheralded youngster in Matt Hackett.
"Backstrom's a hard worker, a low–maintenance guy. He's always working on his game, trying to find a way to get better," Mason said. "The other kid, Hackett, just got called up. He had a great year last year, his first in the AHL. He was instrumental in taking them to the Calder Cup finals. There's big–time potential in this kid. I can see him playing in the NHL in a year or two."
Playing in the NHL, perhaps still under the tutelage of Bob Mason and the Minnesota Wild.
Posted by Zach Schneider