MSU hockey coaches respond to death of Ron Mason
The game never left Ron Mason. It was with him in the beginning and it was there with him at the end.
“He watched the game, he was happy that Pittsburgh won, he thought they were a better team and was thrilled for them,” assistant hockey coach Tom Newton said on Monday at a press conference.
Anastos says he's numb and stunned over the passing of Mason. Never would have thought Mason would have passed this soon.— State News Sports (@thesnews_sports) June 13, 2016
Ron Mason, 76, the legendary MSU hockey coach died in the early Monday hours not long after Pittsburgh captured the Stanley Cup. A pioneering force in the world of college hockey, Mason guided MSU through 23 seasons. He built the program into a national powerhouse that amassed 17 CCHA titles, 19 NCAA tournament appearances, seven Frozen Four berths and one national championship in 1986.
“The loss of coach Mason comes as a huge shock to all of us,” current MSU head coach Tom Anastos said at a press conference Monday morning. “You always see him bouncing around with energy and with his intensity, to think that we’re not going to see that is just hard to get my arms around.”
It was his character and demeanor and enthusiasm that was the theme of the day as the death shocked the close-knit hockey world. Trending nationally, the news of Mason’s death was far reaching as many in the hockey community shared stories and talked about his impact on the game.
Not only did Ron Mason nurture hockey players under his command he left his mark on many parts of the game.
“What stood out to me about Ron Mason, when we see him here at Michigan State as he impacted the hockey program, players like me who played for him understand how he impacted us and as teammates, in the locker room, on campus.”
In 1972, Mason helped kick start the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, or CCHA, and grew it to be one of the dominant conferences in the country. After successful stints with Lake Superior State and Bowling Green State, he helped guide MSU into national prominence.
“He had that good balance of confidence and humility cause at the time the program was trying to revitalize itself,” Anastos said. “A big reason, a big reason I came to Michigan State was because of Ron Mason.”
Mason left his mark especially on Newton. Newton first met Mason when he was 13 years old and later played for him at BGSU. Under Mason, Newton was captain of the Falcons and won five CCHA titles (three regular season, two tournament).
An emotional Newton described Mason saying “he had a lot of impact on a lot of people.”
“One of his things was to be strong and keeping going on and we’ll certainly do that and do it in his honor,” Newton said.