The Camrose Kodiaks, hosts of the 2011 RBC Cup, kicked off the 2010-11 season on September 10 when they hoisted the No. 9 of Mason Raymond to the rafters of EnCana Arena prior to their AJHL home opener against the Okotoks Oilers.
Raymond, a member of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, played two seasons with the Kodiaks (2003-05), leading them to an AJHL championship and a berth in the championship game of the RBC Cup in 2005. The Cochrane, Alta., native totalled 144 points (68 goals, 76 assists) in 112 regular season games with the Kodiaks.
"My time in Camrose was some of the best days of my life," Raymond said. "I was proud to be a Camrose Kodiak, and still have very fond memories of the two fantastic seasons I spent in the city. To receive the honour of having my jersey being retired is one of the proudest moments of my life, and I will never forget how much this means to me. I would like to thank the City of Camrose, and the Camrose Kodiak organization, for this honour."
Raymond’s jersey is the second retired by the Kodiaks – the No. 11 of Jason Kenyon, who captained the Kodiaks to their lone RBC Cup championship in 2001, was previously honoured.
The retirement ceremony capped off a day of celebration in Camrose; Mayor Clarence Mastel opened the festivities earlier in the day by presenting Raymond with a key to the city and proclaiming September 10 ‘Mason Raymond Day’.
After recording 62 points (27 goals, 35 assists) in his rookie season with the Kodiaks in 2003-04, Raymond took off in his sophomore year, putting up 82 points (41 goals, 41 assists) in just 55 games en route to the AJHL’s Most Valuable Player award. In the playoffs, Raymond helped the Kodiaks to victories over Fort McMurray in the AJHL final and Surrey in the Doyle Cup before falling agonizingly short in the national championship game against the host Weyburn Red Wings.
For his efforts that season, Raymond was selected in the second round (51st overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Canucks.
Following his career in Camrose, Raymond moved on to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he earned a spot on the WCHA All-Rookie Team after posting 28 points in 40 games, and improved to 46 points in 39 games in his sophomore year, which led to him being named UMD MVP and to the WCHA First All-Star Team.
Raymond signed his first professional contract following the 2006-07 season and made his pro debut with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, suiting up for the final 11 regular season games as well as 11 postseason contests.
He made his NHL debut on against San Jose, picking up an assist for his first NHL point, and scored his first NHL goal against Anaheim’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere on . Raymond split his time between the Canucks and the Moose during the 2007-08 season, posting an impressive 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in only 49 NHL games.
An NHL regular for the last two seasons, Raymond was named the Canucks’ Unsung Hero for the 2009-10 season after a 53-point (25 goals, 28 assists) campaign, which earned him a new two-year contract beginning with the upcoming 2010-11 season. His 2009-10 performance also led to his first-ever international appearance for Canada at the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Germany.