Everybody Loves Raymond: Cochrane Product Enjoying Life With Team He Grew Up Cheering For

There’s never a good time to be injured as an NHLer, but if there was, now would probably be it for Flames winger Mason Raymond.

He’s still in the midst of moving into a new Calgary home with wife
Megan and two-and-a-half-year-old son Max. After spending much of early
part of the season on the road, the 29-year-old Cochrane product is
looking forward to getting settled off the ice after looking very
comfortable on the ice with the Flames in the early part of the season
before a shoulder injury temporarily put him on the shelf this week.

“Everything’s still kind of all over the map. It’s going to take a
little more time, to be perfectly honest,” Raymond says of settling in.
“We haven’t been home a lot. Night one didn’t even seem like much of a
home game because we left right after.”

The home he’s always known is just around the corner for him now. His
mom Carol and dad Terry are still living in the house built on an active
farm in Cochrane not far from Calgary’s borders.

They still run cattle as ranchers in the summer months. When time
allows, Mason and his young family will find themselves enjoying the
short trip out there.

“It’s something that’s in my blood and something I thoroughly enjoy.
When we get the odd day off, we go out there and just relax. I enjoy
that kind of getaway and that kind of lifestyle,” he says.

His new home rink is the same one he grew up watching games in.

Some of his earliest hockey memories took place as a fan at the Saddledome as a kid.

“So many memories,” he says with a smile. “It was always an exciting
night when you get to come to the Dome, get your slice of pizza and your
ice cream or what have you. I followed the Flames for years and years
and years.”

One of the highlights was a meet and greet with Flames legend Lanny
McDonald, who was parked in the concourse signing autographs.

“That was something special. It’s something nice to remember to this day
and something that I took and learned from him — it’s good to give back
to kids and sign,” Raymond says.

His ability to give back now includes an opportunity to simply spend
more time with his family and friends after playing with the Vancouver
Canucks for six seasons and the Toronto Maple Leafs last year. But
Raymond gets just as much out of having mom and dad close by in his
first year with the Flames.

“It’s huge. It’s not only special for me but it’s special for my family
to be able to see us and be able to spend time with myself and my kid,”
Raymond says.

“They’re not at every game by any means but they’re definitely coming
when they can. My wife and son are always here supporting. But whether I
have friends or family at the rink, I can assure you they’re at home or
somewhere close by to us cheering us on. That is a cool aspect of it.

“I’m really, really enjoying myself.”

That aspect appears in his performance. Through 10 games with the
Flames, played mostly alongside rookie speedster Johnny Gaudreau and Joe Colborne, Raymond has a team-high five goals and seven points. It’s a
continuation of last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs — a year which
began on a training camp tryout and turned into his second most
impressive NHL campaign.

That was an important bounce-back for Raymond, who fractured a vertebrae
in the 2011 playoffs and struggled to regain his form the following
year. The lockout-shortened season showed some promise, but not enough
for the Canucks to keep him around. Tryout offers came but no one was
willing to sign him without seeing him play the preseason last fall. The
Leafs’ patience — and Raymond’s — paid off with a 19-goal, 45-point
season.

“That’s how this game works, and how life works. You go through the
highs and the lows and it was something I had to go through. And I did,”
Raymond says. “I proved (I could play) to myself more importantly than
everything and everyone else.”

Once the shoulder is fully healed, he’ll get back to continuing that journey. The one that brought him home.