Maybe it really was the nice backhand with a flip over the shoulder which made us revel in Alex Mason’s goal last week.
Maybe it was something else. There’s no doubt the now-famous Detroit Lakes forward scored the goal of the year and maybe one of the best ever by a high school hockey player in this state or any other.
But what made us really enjoy this goal was it finally gave us something to cheer about when it comes to Minnesota High School Hockey. This is the first good thing to happen to hockey on a state-wide level in wake of the tragic accident which left Benilde-St. Maragaret’s forward Jack Jablonski paralyzed.
Jablonski’s injury brought awareness to the game’s physical nature resulting in rule changes which has generated its proponents and opponent all the same. Regardless of where you fell on the rule changes, there’s no denying it changed the attitude many in this state had about the game.
Minnesotans love hockey in the same way Texans love football under the lights on a Friday night or how Hoosiers love filling a cavernous gym three times a week to watch basketball.
When you love something, you never want to see anything bad happen to it. That’s what made what happened to Jablonski extremely difficult to deal with.
Jablonski’s injury serves as a reminder of the dangers which exist in this sport or really any other sport. Yet at the same time, it allowed us to remember why many fell in love with this sport in the first place.
Communities across the state and the nation reached out to Jablonski and his team. Whether it was raising money or having a Jablonski sticker on a helmet, there was always something being done.
This is why Mason’s goal was so important. It continued the upswing of good feelings about Minnesota’s game. It made people remember why this game is so important and how it can transform the biggest, baddest person on the planet to feeling like a child in awe all in one moment.
Yet like Jablonski’s story, Mason’s had its downsides. By now, it has been made clear there have been some unfavorable YouTube comments referencing Mason’s Native American heritage among a few other things.
Why race or Mason’s long hair needs to be discussed is beyond me and I’d like to think anyone with a shred of common sense.
This blog had a post earlier in the week which chronicled Mason’s heritage and how a former teammate talked about how he was harassed by a student section for being of a different ethnicity.
But the teammate came back and said Mason responded by laughing it off and scoring a goal then smiling afterwards.
A laugh and a smile is something we’ve all needed with the way this hockey season has played out.
This is why we loved Mason’s goal. It was more than just admiring the moves it took to score. It was more than just showing our friends and family about a goal a kid from small town Minnesota scored.
It showed us why we love this game.
And it reminded us why we’ll continue to keep loving this game.