From the time he hit the ice at age six, Bryan Mason loved hockey. Born in 1990, Bryan thrived in the Alberni Valley Minor Hockey system, developing into a charismatic team player over the next 12 years.
After his life was cut short in a tragic accident in 2011 less than a week before he was to start an apprenticeship with a car dealership in Victoria, Mason’s friends and family found a way to keep his memory alive. The annual Bryan Mason Memorial hockey tournament takes place this Friday, Feb. 9 through to Family Day Monday, Feb. 12 with both bantam and peewee games.
“Hockey is so much more than a game. It does become a lifestyle for many parents and players,” says Donna Douglas, Bryan’s mother. “From practices to games, to tournaments home and away, the players and parents form friendships that last forever.
“Bryan’s character embodied the traits we hope to see in the development of young players in their conduct on and off the ice, with fun, sportsmanship, skill, tenacity and leadership,” she says.
Bryan graduated from Alberni District Secondary School in 2008 and, too old to play in the minor hockey system anymore, the six-foot-two defenceman played in the Men’s Non-Contact Hockey League for three years while studying auto mechanics at North Island College. He worked for Canadian Tire and Walmart’s automotive departments until he was accepted to start his apprenticeship.
After Bryan’s death, family friends Marc and Lori Duquette initiated the Bryan Mason Memorial Hockey Tournament to keep his memory alive. Many parents and players dedicate their time to the tournament, for which Bryan’s mother Donna is grateful.
Bryan’s former teammates in the men’s hockey league described him as a “great person, on and off the ice.” They continue to wear Bryan’s name and jersey number on all their uniforms.
His family also contributes to a memorial bursary each year, assisting a minor hockey player in continuing their education.
Games in the Bryan Mason Memorial tourney run Friday, Feb. 9 through Monday, Feb. 12 (Family Day). Port Alberni’s two peewee teams will play Friday at 5:15 and 6:45 p.m., while the Alberni bantam team will play at 5:30 p.m. Games continue throughout the weekend at both the Coulson and Weyerhaeuser rinks at the AV Multiplex.
Medal games take place on Monday at 11:45 a.m. for bantam bronze, 1:30 p.m. for peewee gold/ silver, 3:15 p.m. for peewee bronze, and 3:45 p.m. for bantam gold/ silver. Gold medal games will take place at Weyerhaeuser Arena. The schedule will be available online at avmha.com.