Plum’s Mason Proskin rising up hockey ranks
By: Jerin Steele
Sunday, December 30, 2018 | 11:03 PM
Growing up as a Penguins fan, Mason Proskin never envisioned putting on a Flyers jersey.
But when an opportunity presented itself to play for the Jr. Flyers this season, wearing the orange and black turned out to be a good fit.
Proskin, a Plum native, is a defenseman and alternate captain for the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U16 team in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.
“If you told me five years ago I’d be wearing a Flyers jersey I would’ve told you that you were crazy,” Proskin said. “But my path has led me here and I couldn’t be happier with my situation.”
Philadelphia is the latest stop in Proskin’s hockey journey. He was part of Plum’s Penguins Cup Championship team two years ago as a freshman, and during that time, he played for the New Jersey Colonials on weekends. When he went to the USA Hockey Nationals with the Colonials, he was discovered by a Canadian scout and played last season in Toronto with the North York Rangers.
Each stop has provided Proskin with exposure and good competition, and Philadelphia hasn’t been any different. He played in the BEAST Series in Boston that ran from August to October and participated in showcases in Detroit and Phoenix along with the rest of Tier 1 Elite League schedule. The Jr. Flyers play in one more showcase in Cleveland next weekend before the postseason begins.
Proskin has a goal and four assists in Tier 1 Elite League play. He wants to play NCAA Division I hockey as well as junior hockey, and playing for the Flyers has given him an opportunity to be seen by plenty of scouts.
“You always have to play like there’s someone watching, but those showcases are highly scouted,” Proskin said. “Different regions have different scouts there. Any Tier I Elite showcase will have USHL, NAHL and NCAA Division I scouts, so you have to know that going in.”
When he isn’t suiting up for the Flyers, Proskin attends the Philadelphia Hockey Academy, which blends hockey training with school. The Philadelphia Hockey Academy uses an online school called the Commonwealth Charter Academy. Some of Proskin’s teammates join him in the academy as well as a mix of others, including some female players.
“We work so hard on our game every day,” Proskin said. “We skate three times a day, and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity they’ve given me. There are about 25 people in the school with me, and we’re all very close friends. I wouldn’t want to spend all day with anyone else. We all learn as a group. It’s a really good place to be.”
Even when Proskin away from the rink or the academy, he still does plenty of studying.
He looks at San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson as someone to model his game after. He also watches YouTube videos of hockey training specialist Pavel Barber, as well as scouring message boards to find tips to improve.
“I’ve been working on being more physical, my vision and even getting smarter at the game,” Proskin said. “I try to play a very smart game, and sometimes you have to do research on what new things people are discovering and what you can do to be smarter.”
Proskin is draft-eligible this spring for the USHL and NAHL, which are the top junior hockey leagues in the country. After last season’s draft, he skated with the Central Illinois Flying Aces of the USHL. He said he has a couple of visits with colleges and skates with a few junior teams scheduled in the coming months.
Proskin isn’t certain what the future holds, but a good opportunity presented itself each of the last two years, and he’s hopeful another one will be there for next season.
“We’ve pretty much taken it one year at a time, but the end goal is to play Division I hockey,” Proskin said. “After that, we’ll see. I’m hoping to play professionally one day, wherever that may be.”
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.