© Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Compass
Ten-year-old Mason Crane of Butlerville displays the puck he received after scoring his 50th goal. He dedicated the tally to his late grandfather, John 'Jack' Crane.
Editor's note: the following article was first published in the Feb. 19, 2013 print edition of The Compass.
It's the morning of Feb. 9 at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts and Mason Crane picks up the puck at centre ice and is speeding towards the Placentia Intertown Lions goal.
The fleet-footed 10-year-old Butlerville resident is on the precipice of an significant milestone - 50 goals in a season. He has 49.
Deftly moving to his right, Mason makes the defender look like a pylon.
When he reaches the hash marks, five feet from the net, Mason flicks his wrist, sending the circular black disc into the top of the net.
"We were wondering what he was going to do," says Mason's mother, Patricia.
However, there is no celebration for this marker. Mason's team - the Bay Arena atom Bs - is already up a considerable amount over their opponents.
"It was awesome," Mason says later.
Just prior to the start of the tournament, Mason made a pledge in memory of his late-grandfather, John 'Jack' Crane, who passed away in October 2012. No. 50 would be in his honour.
After performing the congratulatory high-fives with his teammates, Mason receives the significant piece of rubber. Prior to the resumption of play, he quickly skates over to the stands where his father, Graham, is standing.
'Thinking about my pop'
Mason does not remember much of what was going through his mind as he was going for the goal. One thing he does remember is who he was thinking about.
"I was thinking about my pop," says Mason.
Undoubtedly, Mason was thinking about the numerous trips the two made together in the woods behind Butlerville on the all-terrain vehicle, or the times Mason helped Jack carry wood into the basement. Mason even had his own wheelbarrow for the job.
Maybe he was reminiscing when the two would sit together and watch the larger-than-life characters of World Wrestling Entertainment on television.
While not the biggest hockey fan, Jack managed to make it to the Bay Arena to watch his grandson on numerous occasions.
"The only hockey he watched was Mason's," says Graham, speaking of his late father.
Graham and Patricia had no idea their son was planning on honouring Jack.
"In all honesty, we didn't know he was going to do it," says Patricia.
When his parents caught wind of what their son was planning, they were "taken aback by it all."
They do know one thing, however.
"We're proud of him," Patricia states.
Back at the arena, a group of parents around Patricia and Graham start asking questions about the cherished puck. One mother asks Patricia why her son was given the puck.
Telling her the reason, Patricia received an unusual reaction.
"When I told her, she started to cry," said Patricia.