The Pipeline: A Conversation with Mason Beaupit
Get to know the future superstars of the NHL long before they reach that stage. The Pipeline Show is the premier podcast covering Major Junior, the NCAA, Jr. A and international tournaments like the U20 and U18 WJC, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and more.
The Pipeline Show host Guy Flaming catches up with Spokane Chiefs goaltender Mason Beaupit, No. 80 in FCHockey’s Preliminary ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft.
Guy Flaming: How have you felt about the start of the season for you and the Chiefs?
Mason Beaupit: I felt like it’s been pretty good. Our team’s been looking pretty good. Every game we’ve been in has been a really close game, which is really good. So far it hasn’t gone our way the first couple games but that’s okay. We’re playing really good and I think as we get into the season though we’re going to get those bounces and we’re going to start getting some points here.
GF: What about you on an individual basis? I go to what we saw in the short season in the spring and you had really strong save percentage even though you were giving up more than three goals a game. That tells me you were seeing a lot of shots. How do you feel about the way you’ve played?
MB: So far it’s been pretty good. Obviously always want to be doing better, but can’t complain with how it’s been going so far. I’m looking to keep getting better every day and keep improving and go from there.
GF: For the benefit of those people let’s get some, some background, some general questions to start off with. First off, where are you from?
MB: Surrey, British Columbia. It’s like a little suburb just outside of Vancouver.
GF: And do you remember when you first started playing hockey? When did you become a goaltender?
MB: I must have been probably in maybe Grade 4 or 5 so probably about 10 or 11. And it was at that age where you kind of everyone’s kind of switching around positions and I decided to go in that one game and I think that game we actually got blown out like it was probably like seven or 8-1. But there’s one player he got a breakaway and he came in on me and I stacked the pads and I made the save. And after that moment I fell for it. I wanted to be a goalie after that. And that was it. In the history books.
GF: Well that’s fantastic, despite the lopsided outcome of the game. That one moment, that one shining moment as a goaltender is what stood out for you and influenced you moving forward. That’s fantastic. I always ask the goaltenders why they got into the position. Most of them say it’s the gear. It’s wearing the mask or the pads or the glove and stuff. Was there some of that is part of that for you as well?
MB: Honestly not really. I kind of always played goalie in road hockey and ball hockey and that kind of stuff so I just naturally was, ‘like yeah we’ll give it a shot’ and just after that day I really really loved it and was something I really wanted to do and my parents and family were super supportive and let me follow that route.
GF: Well that’s nice that your parents were on board because it’s certainly not the cheapest position to have your kid play.
MB: Yeah, no definitely I think I think after that game the story goes that my dad was pretty fired up because he was like ‘Oh there’s no way he’s gonna want to be a goalie and I came out big big smile on my face and was like I’m gonna be a goalie’ and he was like, ‘Oh, well, it looks like you’ll be a goalie.”
GF: Now the Chiefs drafted you in the fourth round back in the WHL Bantam Draft. A lot of guys I talk to were able to stay home from school that day or they were at school following along on their phones or something. What was draft day like for you? Can you remember?
MB: I was actually getting over a cold so I was at home when the draft was happening. And we were watching on the TV and my whole family was was there and I’m from Vancouver, BC and I was playing up in Okanagan Hockey Academy up in Penticton so we’re all watching the TV and when my when my name finally was called my whole family went crazy then everyone back home was was pretty excited and my phone was blowing up because everyone was just really happy and really excited for me
GF: With 22 teams in the league, unless it’s the Vancouver Giants that draft you you know that you’re going to be leaving town and and having to move and travel to play. But to leave the country to go play in Spokane outside of Canada…how’d you feel about that at a young age?
MB: I didn’t know a whole lot about the US Division. I I knew Seattle and Everett because they’re pretty close to Vancouver so the occasional game there but I didn’t know much about it. I was honestly pretty excited because I heard from talking to a couple guys that the fans down here were were pretty cool and it was a great organization. It’s been amazing since I’ve been here this is up to every expectation.
GF: What was your first impression of of the area? I know Spokane is a it’s a beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest isn’t it?
MB: Yeah, it’s a very it’s a very cool town. It’s a little different from Vancouver, little older rustic style but it’s pretty cool and they’ve got an amazing facility for us. The rink’s amazing and just first class all around it’s awesome.
GF: And I could be wrong but I believe at this point the the Chiefs are leading the league in attendance, so after the short season in the spring, not playing it in front of any fans for the most part, finally getting back onto the ice getting things going normal and playing in front of a big crowd. That must be a lot of fun right now?
MB: Yeah, for sure. It gives I know for sure me and the rest of the guys a lot of energy when we have 5-6000 people chanting to get us going and it definitely gives the home ice advantage a big key for us.
GF: For the benefit of those fans who haven’t had a chance to watch the Chiefs play, or maybe have never seen you play, I know to some degree or to most degree every goaltender these days is a butterfly goaltender, but what’s different about your game what’s sort of unique about the way you play?
MB: I’m a pretty big guy, and I like to say pretty calm and just kind of let the game come to me. You see a lot of guys, they’ll sometimes try and go out of their way to can make a big lunging save or they put themselves out position, and I try to make a big key on just kind of making the easy save and having to use that athleticism at the last ditch kind of if I need to, but just trying to say is as simple and as calm as can be.
GF: The WHL website, the roster page for the Chiefs lists you at 6-foot-5 and about 184 pounds. I’ve seen 185 pounds elsewhere. I don’t know how up to date that is but what do you get right now?
MB: Yeah I think the last time I got my height about just little taller, about 6-5 and I think a half, which is a little bit taller. And last time I weighed myself I was at 187 so right around that area but I think for definitely for my age, I got a really good frame that I can use to my advantage.
GF: I should ask you about the draft and how much time you spend thinking about it. I know what the downtime with COVID and stuff maybe you had more time on your hands then than usual. Has the draft been something you spend much time thinking about?
MB: I think for everyone going to their draft year it’s on their mind to a certain degree, so a little bit. I try my best not to think about it I believe. It just kind of distracts me from from playing hockey and that’s what I’m here to do, so at the end of the day I know that if I go to the rink and and work hard and just play my game though it will all work out with the draft and everything else so just try not to think too much into it.
GF: It’s interesting because I do talk to some players who say that they actively seek out to see where they’re ranked by the various outlets out there or or the pundits.
MB: Yeah, I try and stay away from it. I don’t see a point in it. I just think it it distracts me. If if I’m in the net and I have a tough night and I’m freaking out about where I am moving statistics-wise or rankings-wise, I just don’t don’t think it’s a positive thing. Obviously when you hear that you’re ranking high or whatever it may be, it’s all it’s always it’s always a good confidence-booster, but definitely not something I’m I’m seeking out.
GF: As a Vancouver-area kid there in Surrey, were the Canucks your team growing up or were you cheering for somebody else for some reason?
MB: Ah a little bit. Funny enough, I was a huge Chicago fan for a bit there. So the I went to, I think it was Conference finals and it was like maybe Game 6 and I rolled up in a Chicago jersey. But yeah, I think when younger you kind of hop teams but as I’ve kind of gotten a little bit older Vancouver’s my team.
GF: Alright, that makes sense. Any particular reason that the first team was Chicago though? Was it the jerseys or something like that? I know a lot of people are attracted just to the sweaters.
MB: More just the uniforms. I like how they look and they’re they’re very clean. I just I always really liked how they looked.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.