Kodiaks retire Raymond's jersey

DARCY STEEN Camrose Kodiaks

The Camrose Kodiaks will retire the number nine jersey of former Camrose Kodiaks player and current Vancouver Canucks forward Mason Raymond.

The ceremony will take place at the Kodiaks AJHL regular season home opener on Sept. 10 when the Kodiaks play host to the Okotoks Oilers at 7:30 p.m.

"The Kodiaks organization is extremely proud of the accomplishments of Mason Raymond," said Kodiaks coach and general manager, Boris Rybalka. "We have seen and admired Mason's growth through the years and are very delighted that his hockey career has gone so well for him. We have great pride that Mason wore a Kodiaks uniform for two seasons, and are always supportive of him in his professional hockey career."

The native of Cochrane has had a very successful junior, collegiate and professional playing career. In his first season with the Kodiaks in 2003-04, Raymond scored 27 goals and 62 points in 57 games and helped the team to a first place finish in the AJHL standings.

In Raymond's second season with the Kodiaks, he scored 41 goals and 41 assists for 82 points in 55 games and helped the team to a first place finish for the second consecutive year. The Kodiaks finished the 2004-05 season with 48 wins and only eight loses prior to a very successful post season run. The team defeated the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in seven games to capture the 2005 AJHL Championship, defeated the Surrey Eagles (BCHL) in five games to win the Doyle Cup, and to advance to the 2005 RBC Cup. For his efforts, Raymond was awarded the AJHL's Most Valuable Player Award. That June, the Vancouver Canucks selected Raymond in the second round of the NHL entry draft.

Following his junior career, Raymond went on to play with the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA. In his freshman season of 2005-06, Raymond finished the season with 28 points in 40 games played. In his sophomore season of 2006-07, Raymond improved his totals to 46 points in 39 games played.

Raymond signed a professional hockey contract following the 2007 season. He joined the Manitoba Moose of the AHL for the final 11 games of the 2006-07 regular season and played in 13 post-season games.

In 2007-08, Raymond split his time between the Manitoba Moose and the Vancouver Canucks. He recorded 17 points in 20 games for the Moose, and posted an impressive nine goals, 12 assists and 21 points in only 49 regular season games in his NHL rookie season with the Canucks.

Raymond played exclusively with the Vancouver Canucks during the 2008-09 NHL season. Last season, Raymond recorded 25 goals and 53 points in 82 games for the Canucks. On July 26, Raymond signed a two-year contract with the Canucks.

There are many unique and exciting festivities planned for the jersey retirement on Sept. 10, as Raymond will have a full itinerary of visits to schools in the City of Camrose throughout the day.

The Kodiaks will also be hosting a tailgate party and barbecue outside of the Edgeworth Centre, the home facility of the Camrose Kodiaks, prior to the home opener.

The team will be hosting a barbecue where the public is welcome and invited to attend. Raymond will be on hand at the tailgate party to sign autographs.

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