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Cochrane native, former NHler Mason Raymond buys Cochrane GM dealership

Former NHL hockey player, Olympian, feedlot operator, and new owner of Cochrane GM Mason Raymond is happy to be bringing everything he’s learned in his business and hockey career to his hometown.
Former Flame, Canuck, Maple Leaf, and Duck Mason Raymond has come home to buy and run Cochrane GM.

Cochrane hockey fans looking to add to their autograph collections and see some memorabilia up close will have a chance next weekend to meet a local boy who made good in the NHL and at the Olympics.

They can possibly even win some Flames tickets at the same time.

Former NHL hockey player, Olympian, feedlot owner/operator, and new owner of Cochrane GM Mason Raymond is happy to be bringing everything he’s learned in his business and hockey career to his hometown.

Raymond started his hockey career at age five, suiting up for Cochrane Minor Hockey teams before moving on to the Airdrie Xtreme bantam AAA team in 2001-02.

Five years after that, following stints with the Camrose Kodiaks, University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, and Manitoba Moose, he found himself dressed in a Vancouver Canucks uniform, playing on a line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

It was a long-awaited dream come true. His 10-year NHL career included stops in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Anaheim, before he went to Switzerland to play with SC Bern in 2017.

Born and raised in Cochrane, Raymond said much of what he learned in hockey is directly applicable to how he intends to run his latest business venture.

“Yes, here I am, back in my hometown, looking to put everything I’ve learned in the hockey world and the parallels in business, looking to bring it into the dealership and provide for locals,” he said.

He said it’s hard to pick a single most favourite hockey moment from his career, but playing for Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea is right up there.

“We came away winning a bronze medal and it’s something I’m very proud of, one of the pinnacles of my career,” he said.

As a child, he dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup. He made it to the final in 2011 with the Vancouver Canucks in what was the high point in his NHL career.

As fate would have it, the childhood dream would elude him. Raymond was sidelined by a hit in the first 30 seconds of game six that broke his back, and the Boston Bruins went on to defeat the Canucks in game seven, as he watched from the booth.

He mentions scoring a hat trick with the Calgary Flames at a game in Edmonton, and another one in Calgary as a Canuck, as the other memories that round out his top three.

Raymond said he learned a lot in his hockey career about the importance of family and having support systems in place, which bodes well for his foray into the business world.

He learned a lot from former Canuck captain Trevor Linden, who he referred to as an idol.

Linden’s last year with the Canucks was Raymond’s first.

“A big part of any sport and any business is leadership,” he said. “He was a guy who helped me reach goals, strive to be better day in and day out, and find new levels of what I was capable of,” he said.

He has about 750 head of cattle on a farm about 10 kilometres east of Cochrane, which he runs, but he said he will not be an absentee owner at the GM dealership – as president of the dealership, he said he will be hands-on.

Cochrane GM employs about 40 staff. Raymond took over the dealership Dec. 1.

He said he always planned on going into the business world after his playing career ended, and when the dealership became available, it was a perfect match.

“I’m very proud to be from Cochrane, and I want to contribute to the local hockey community. Cochrane is a place where I learned to play the game I love,” he said.

What Raymond is calling a ‘soft launch’ of his new dealership will offer hockey fans the opportunity to see some hockey memorabilia, take pictures, get some autographs, meet the former star, and maybe – if they’re lucky – win four tickets to the Calgary Flames vs. the San Jose Sharks game at the Saddledome March 25. Anyone wearing a hockey jersey of any team will be entered into the draw for the tickets.

The launch at Cochrane GM, 2 Westside Dr., is on Friday, Feb. 10 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Howard May

About the Author: Howard May

Howard was a journalist with the Calgary Herald and with the Abbotsford Times in BC, where he won a BC/Yukon Community Newspaper Association award for best outdoor writing.
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