The development of The Mason Foundation is deeply rooted in the Westerville Warcats High School hockey club team. In 1998, hockey was primarily known in Ohio because of The Chill. There were a few house teams and even fewer travel teams that played at Chiller Easton and at the Fairgrounds downtown. That was the year the Warcats program was founded. In the Spring of ’99, the inaugural club team was formed to “test” the interest level of players in Central Ohio. This inaugural team included Bryce Jesse Mason as a player even though he was a Senior that year. BJ also played with or against most of the players at his level. His parents, Bryan and Cheryl Mason, were also very active in the hockey community—acting Board members, Coaching, helping other young men or just driving A LOT.
BJ just loved to play—as a Blue Jackets midget player when the Warcats were formed, BJ was well known for hard work, character and sportsmanship. Tragically, we lost BJ in a car accident on Oct. 24, 1998 and in his memory The Mason award was established, in association with the Warcats program.
In March of 1999, goalie Issac Fuller was the first award recipient, who later went on to be a Warcats coach. Every year since, it has been given to a varsity player that portrays the same tenacity and love for the game that BJ exemplified. In March of 2013, the Mason family was deeply honored when the Warcats Board of Trustees decided to retire his jersey number 11 to continue the honor of his memory.
It is in this spirit that The Mason Foundation was founded. On BJ’s birthday, September 16, in 2013 we were officially established as an individual organization. Later the next year, with the generous donation of a vehicle, Bryan was able to repair and sell for a profit. With that seed money, we had the funding needed to establish The Mason Foundation as a non-profit organization on November 19, 2014.
It is our mission to financially assist and encourage youth development through athletics, extra-curricular activities and education. As we grow and develop as an organization, it is our hope that our Westerville Warcats hockey roots will continue to be an integral part of the legacy as we expand in to other opportunities to keep BJ’s competitive spirit of team work, dedication and sportsmanship passed on to each generation.
To learn more about BJ Mason’s life, please click here.