Jeff Mason, the Stena Line Belfast Giants all-time leading defenceman for scoring and games played, has announced his retirement from hockey ahead of the 2018/19 season.
After eight successful seasons in Belfast and a 13 year professional career – Mason has decided to ‘hang up the skates’.
Mason retires from the sport as one of the most memorable to every pull on the Giants jersey and will be well missed by the organisation both on and off the ice with the defenceman truly embracing the ethos of the Giants organisation and giving outstanding service throughout his time in Northern Ireland.
“My playing days are done,” said Mason in a Giants TV interview with Simon Kitchen. “When I came back last year it was always going to be my last ‘go-around’. I will certainly miss it after some great times here.”
Mason arrived in Belfast back in 2010 and since then has amassed 400 games and posted 63 goals and 160 assists. In his last season as a Giant the well known Belfast #3 secured the #1 place in all-time scoring for Giants defencemen, taking top spot ahead of other Belfast greats – Todd Kelman, Shane Johnson and Robby Sandrock. Mason retires as 6th overall in the Giants all-time standings.
“I could not have imagined back in 2010 the journey that myself and the Giants fans would embark on. It has been a great time and I will not be far away, I will still be around at home games. Though as far as going on the ice – that will not be happening anymore.”
“I had assumed I would play in Belfast for a short time, I was certainly not expecting to plant roots here – it is a great city that I now call home and I cannot say enough good things about the city and the organisation.”
Giants fans will remember many great Jeff Mason moments across his eight seasons in Belfast however none more so than the trophies he helped the team secure.
Mason helped the Giants to the Elite League title in 2011/12 with the organisation clinching the championship on home ice in a famous night at The SSE Arena.
Mason’s performances also guided the Giants to another league title, this time in 2013/14 as we clinched the trophy with, a record breaking, ten games still to play.
Most recently, Mason came out of retirement in the 2017/18 season and starred for the Giants in the Challenge Cup Final on Sunday 4th March 2018. Mason helped the Belfast side take a 6-3 victory against the Cardiff Devils as the Giants won their ninth major championship and a third for Jeff Mason.
“I appreciate all that the team and fans have done for me in the support over the years, We have had some really good times with two league titles and the Challenge Cup. Belfast will always rank as my top place to play.”
Although – is this the last time we will see a ‘Mason’ jersey on the ice at The SSE Arena?!
“My son Max is certainly enjoying hockey and that is all he wants to do at home,” said Mason.“I have had him out on the ice a few times. He thinks he is Belfast Giant when he is at home – so you never know!”
Head Coach Adam Keefe on the retirement of Jeff Mason:
“I wish Jeff all the best in life after hockey. ‘Mase’ was always at the top of my list for my Giants teams. He makes his teammates better and I felt that, even in his final season, he played some of his best hockey which helped us win the Challenge Cup.”
“This season we will very much miss his competitiveness and defensive talent that he brought to every shift he took. I am proud to have played alongside him throughout his time in Belfast and the three championships we won together are the highlights of my Giants career so far.”