The ice surface at Michigan State’s Clarence L. “Biggie” Munn Ice Arena will be dedicated in honor of legendary hockey coach Ron Mason.
The dedication of Ron Mason Rink will be held prior to the opening game of the season Oct. 7 when the Spartans take on Lake Superior State.
Mason guided the Spartans for 23 seasons (1979-2002) and won 924 games over a 36-season head-coaching career at Lake Superior State (1966-73), Bowling Green (1973-79) and Michigan State (1979-2002), with 635 of those wins coming behind the bench of the Spartans. He retired from coaching as the all-time wins leader and still holds the No. 2 spot all-time.
Mason passed away in 2016 at the age of 76.
“Ron Mason is one of the iconic coaches in the history of Michigan State athletics,” said MSU VP and director of athletics Alan Haller in a news release. “Naming the rink in his honor provides a reminder of what he meant to Spartan hockey, MSU athletics and our entire community as Munn Ice Arena was a gathering place for Spartan fans and one of the toughest tickets around. Capacity crowds have returned to Munn, connecting the present and future with our storied past. We look forward to this dedication with Ron’s family and friends to celebrate his legacy in a permanent way.”
“The legacy of Ron Mason is felt throughout our arena every day,” added MSU coach Adam Nightingale. “He set high standards and had some of the most legendary teams and athletes in the sport under his guidance. This rink is where his teams entertained hundreds of thousands of fans during a decades-long sellout streak and he developed players into NHL prospects every day. It is a fitting tribute to a coaching legend for all he meant not only to us here at Michigan State, but also the game of college hockey.”
Mason is one of a handful of coaches to win national championships at two different schools, as he led LSSU to the NAIA national championship in 1972 and MSU to the NCAA national title in 1986.
Mason guided 22 of his teams to the NCAA tournament, tied for second-best all-time. He was one of the architects of the CCHA in 1972 and went on to capture 10 CCHA regular-season championships and 13 CCHA postseason crowns.
The American Hockey Coaches Association national coach of the year in 1992, Mason was the CCHA coach of the year seven times. Among the thousands of players Mason mentored were a pair of Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners (cousins Kip and Ryan Miller), 35 All-Americans and more than 50 future NHL players.
Mason, who served on both the NCAA Ice Hockey Committee and NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee during his tenure as head coach, was MSU’s director of athletics from 2002 to 2007 after his retirement from coaching. Mason is a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the Michigan State, Lake Superior State and St. Lawrence University sports halls of fame.