Bright future on a big stage
After nearly quitting hockey four years ago, Mason could soon be NHL's rookie of the year

By Aaron Portzline

Steve Mason was angry. At 16 years old, he was living 100 miles from home, barely playing for his junior club and on the brink of quitting hockey.

"I was really frustrated," Mason said. "I called home a lot, because there were more than a few days when I thought I just wanted to walk away. I thought I'd go back to playing hockey with my friends, go back to a regular school and get on with my life."

Only four seasons later, Mason -- now entrenched as the Blue Jackets' No. 1 goaltender -- is preparing to take a much different walk this week.