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Mason West’s Two-Sport Background On Display At Boys 17 National Festival

By Justin Felisko, 06/29/24, 7:00PM EDT


Division I football recruit embracing opportunity to train at USA Hockey’s Player Development Camp

AMHERST, N.Y. – Mason West charged up the left side of the rink at the Northtown Center at Amherst, split two New York District defenders and then used his 6-foot-5-inch, 208-pound frame to power to the front of the goal. With a simple flick of his wrists, West then deked to his right and proceeded to fire the puck into the back of the net to break 1-1 tie between the Rocky Mountain District and New York District during USA Hockey’s Boys 17 National Festival.

It was a split-second decision by West in the opening minute of the final period of play on Saturday afternoon, but it was just one example of West’s football IQ blending with his hockey IQ and overall skillsets.

“Honestly, in a power play or a breakout situation, you kind of got to read a guy just like you would a defense on the football field,” West said following Rocky Mountain’s 5-1 victory. “If they're running zone or a man defense, I kind of got to read where they're going before I throw the ball. I feel like both sports translates a lot.”

West, a Division I football prospect in Minneapolis, led Edina High School to the Class AAAAAA Final as a sophomore this past fall after completing close to 66% of his passes for 2,625 yards and 28 touchdowns. The quarterback already has received scholarship offers from Kent State University, Marshall University and Miami University (Ohio) before his upcoming junior season.

However, West is more than just a rising football star.

West has had a love for hockey since first learning to skate at 4 years old when his family moved to Edina from Seattle. When he isn’t throwing touchdown bombs for Edina High School, the forward can be found potting goals for the Hornets, the 2024 Minnesota State High School Class AA champions, on the ice.

“Hockey is my favorite sport during that season and football is during football season,” West said. “My love for both is 50-50.”

West has already been preparing for his upcoming football season by throwing with his receivers in the offseason during Edina’s summer break.

This week, though, West was more than happy to come to Amherst, N.Y., to compete as an invite with the Rocky Mountain District at the Boys 17 National Festival.

“It's super fun and it’s development,” West said. “I feel like that's one of my attributes, I like adapting to a new change. Football helps my speed and physicality in hockey and hockey helps my running and being quick in football. Obviously, hockey guys move faster, but I feel that kind of makes football a little easier because if people aren’t as fast then I'm already kind seeing where people are going to go.

“Being here helps me bond the two sports together and that makes me a better overall athlete.”

Joe Doyle, head coach of the Rocky Mountain District team and an associate head coach at the Air Force Academy, said he can see elements of West’s football talents translating to the ice.

The multi-sport ability certainly adds to Doyle’s belief that the sky is the limit for West, who has two goals and an assist through Rocky Mountain’s first four games.

“I was going to say his ceiling is high, but I don't know what he has for a ceiling,” Doyle said. “His size, the way he skates, he's an unbelievable athlete and you can see the quarterback in him when he has the puck on his tape. He's checking down option one, option two, option three and it happens so quickly. Stuff's happening quick out there on the ice, but he makes the play that presents itself. And the right play, if you will, virtually every time. You can see a quarterback.

“There isn't something really at the elite level that he doesn't have. He can skate, his stick is very good, and, obviously, his size. He's also very willing. He's one of our most committed players with respect too –I suppose that's a little bit of a football piece too - as he embraces contact. He's looking for guys to be physical.”

Coincidentally, Doyle sees similarities between West and a famous Edina High School graduate – Anders Lee.

Lee, the captain of the New York Islanders, is well-known for being a football, hockey and a baseball player at Edina High School. Lee passed for 1,982 yards and five touchdowns, and he also rushed for 1,105 yards and 32 touchdowns en route to being named 2008 Minnesota Gatorade Football Player of the Year. In 2009, he was a finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award, and Lee finished his high school career with 106 goals and 132 assists for 238 points to rank second at the time in all-time scoring by a metro player in Minnesota history.

“You saw Anders Lee at the (NHL) Draft last night and the size obviously jumps out at you, like they're both obviously big guys and there are some similarities with the way they stick handle, tenacity and all those type of things,” Doyle said.

Despite having offers to play Division I football, Lee stuck with hockey and played at the University of Notre Dame before making his pro debut in New York.

West has never met Lee, but he has seen the highlights of Lee’s Edina High School days and is aware of Lee’s success on the gridiron and now in the NHL. Lee also attended USA Hockey Player Development Camps as a teenager.

“Seeing him do it kind of made me want to do it even more, and to just keep pursuing both sports,” West said. 

West’s parents, Mike and Julie, have also learned about Lee from others in the Edina community the more their son has risen the ranks. They both have witnessed the benefits of Mason playing football and hockey in high school. Mike was also a two-sport athlete (basketball and football) before he played basketball at Eastern Illinois University.

“What's fun is Mason just genuinely loves both sports so much and he's just dialed in,” Julie, who played tennis growing up, said. “Playing two sports has been really good for Mason on a number of fronts. He's made great friends and formed lifelong friendships on both sides and learned a lot about life through both experiences.”

While it is no easy to task to manage multiple sports, especially the older a kid gets, Julie would encourage other parents to let their children play different sports when possible.

“I would encourage them to have their kid do that if they can and just letting them choose if they want to play,” Julie said. “They should try to do it, but having some of the scheduled time off is very, very important. The timing and balancing it all can be tough, and we have to actively make sure Mason takes days off because it's a lot. But all in all, it’s been great.”

Mason understands at some point he will have to likely choose between the two sports, but for now he is more than happy enjoying his high school athletic career. He hopes more kids get the opportunity to play multiple sports in the future and will not be pressured into choosing one sport too early in life.

“I'd say play as many sports as you can,” Mason concluded. “When I was younger, I played almost every sport, and, honestly, I really don't know what I'm going to play (in the future). I just love both sports.”

The Rocky Mountain District will face off against the Minnesota District Sunday at 10:45 a.m. ET. All the action is streaming exclusively on

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