Mason Richey had his sights set on the B.C. Major Midget League points title all year.
But as he suited up with the Cariboo Cougars for their last game before playoffs, the 175-pound player from Terrace disciplined his mind to be at ease.
“I was trying not to overthink it … otherwise I would put extra pressure on myself,” said Richey.
“In my mind I just went out there and played.”
In his third year with the Cougars, Richey had chalked up 135 points before March 10-11, and was shooting for the record held by Eli Jarvis at 136 points. Jarvis is a prior Cougars player, and set the league record over a three year period back in 2011.
Richey was just one point away as the Cougars went into two back-to-back games against the Okanagan Rockets. Over the course of the weekend he sniped two goals and assisted one — matching Jarvis’ record, then breaking it by two.
First Richey sliced a one timer into the net off a teammate’s pass on Saturday, and the next game he buried a slapshot glove-side off a breakaway in the second period.
On top of that, Richey assisted the game-winning overtime goal scored by teammate Brennan Malgunas to slide into playoffs on a winning note.
That pushed Richey to 138 points overall, earning him the all-time points record and slating him in second place for the all-time record for goals scored in the league.
“I was pretty excited, and I’m pretty proud,” said Richey of the achievement.
He said that he’d noticed at the beginning of the year that the record was within his grasp, so he set his goal to reach it.
“When it happened, I was pretty excited,” he said.
Having never missed a season game, Richey scored 64 goals and assisted 74 in a total 120 regular games over the last three seasons in the Major Midget. The prior record holder, Jarvis, played 111 games, scored 56 goals and got 80 assists in his thee years in the league.
Breaking it down, the stats show a definite improvement in Richey’s game over the course of his three year in the league. In his first year with the Cougars, Richey scored eight goals and got 11 assists, in his second year it was 30 goals, 25 assists, and this last season he netted 26 goals and assisted 38.
Speaking of the achievement, coach Travis Brough said Richey set the goal in his mind, and put in the work to achieve it.
“Becoming the all time points leader in any league is a big feat, and [Mason] definitely put the work in this year to get it done,” said Brough, adding that Richey’s been a key asset to the team in more ways than one.
“Mason is a well-rounded player, he’s not just an offensive guy… he’s good defensively, he’s good on the penalty kill when we need him, and he’s found a nice home on our power play line that’s put up a lot of goals this year,” said Brough.
But Brough says Richey does have a “wicked shot” and does the work needed to open up scoring opportunities.
“He goes to the hard areas to get goals and get points and a lot of guys don’t do that at this level,” said Brough, adding that that’s probably what was noticed by the junior level coaches who have scouted him.
Richey was listed by the Kamloops Blazers from the Western Hockey League last year, but he wasn’t signed after tryouts and was released shortly after.
He opted to stay with the Cougars for another season and became team captain, but just a few weeks later was approached at an exhibition game by the West Kelowna Warriors, who offered him a secured spot on the team for next season.
“I was expecting ‘we’ll keep in touch and maybe figure something out,” said Richey, “but not ‘yeah, we want to take you right now.’
“I was pretty happy.”
Richey says he plans to return to Terrace for the summer, after the Cougars wrap up playoffs, and then he’ll head to Kelowna to suit up for the Warriors after that.
“They are always a good team… kind of have a reputation of winning and always having great players. And when ever you hear about them, they’re always classified as one of the good teams to go to because of the way they treat their players,” Richey said, adding that a lot of Warriors go on to get scholarships for division one universities in the United States.
That’s what Richey is hoping for, but for now he’s focused on finishing the Cougar season strong. The team is ranked #2 in the league, and face off against the Thomspon Blazers in a three-game quarterfinal series this weekend.