You’ll have to forgive Chris Mason for getting lost. During an 11-year NHL career, the former Predators goaltender acquainted himself with the maze-like corridors that lead to the locker rooms within the bowels of every arena.
He takes the elevator to work now, up to the unfamiliar upper levels of those same arenas. Searching for the press box Saturday, Mason and a reporter nearly walked the entire length of Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre twice before locating it, needing to stop to ask for directions.
Mason eventually found the radio booth, his new office after retiring from hockey this summer. He made his debut as an analyst on Nashville’s radio broadcast during the team’s three-game road trip last week.
“I think the first week went pretty good,” Mason said. “I definitely know that I have a lot to learn and areas to improve on, just getting the timing down, thinking of things to say on the spot, putting my thoughts into quick sentences. … It was awesome to see a different side of entertainment that I’ve never seen before.”
Mason’s last NHL action came during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, a forgettable campaign in which he compiled a 1-7-1 record, 3.73 goals-against average and .873 save percentage in his second stint with the Predators.
“All those lockout seasons have ended a lot of guys’ careers,” Mason said. “Statistically, I had an awful season, so with my age and everything too, I knew it was a possibility that that could have been my last.”
It was, but it gave Mason an opportunity to share an experience with his family. There had always been interest in playing overseas, so Mason signed with an Italian club and moved his wife and two young daughters to the small mountain town of Ritten Renon, located in the northernmost region of the country where German is actually the predominant language.
The plan was to play in Europe for one season with the possibility of another if all went well. Happy with their eight months in Italy, Mason and his family left for Augsburg, Germany, in what was the final year of his professional career.
“We knew,” said Mason, 39. “My daughters are getting older and it’s that time when we wanted to lay down some roots.”
Even before his playing career ended, Mason had kept in touch with Bob Kohl, the Predators’ senior director of broadcast and entertainment, about what might come next. With radio analyst Brent Peterson wanting to lighten his schedule, Kohl asked Mason if he’d like to join the broadcast team on a part-time basis. In all, Mason will work roughly one-third of Nashville’s games this season.
With no previous broadcasting experience, Mason recently estimated that he’s asked play-by-play partner Pete Weber and television analyst Stu Grimson “a million questions” about the nuances of the job. His longtime vantage point from the crease has helped him in providing a unique perspective.
To read more visit The Tennessean where this story was originally published