KEARNEY — Mason Appleton has made a quick rise through the hockey ranks since suiting up in a Tri-City Storm uniform in 2014-15.
He spent two years playing at Michigan State, before signing his first professional contract with the Winnipeg Jets on July 13, 2017.
In his first pro season with Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, Appleton quickly made a name for himself. The 22-year-old center recorded 22 goals and 44 assists to earn AHL Rookie of the Year honors this past season.
“I had dreams and hopes of playing in the NHL,” said Appleton in a phone interview. “I’m a guy that just takes it a day at a time and goes to work.
“I guess I really didn’t imagine to be a pro hockey player two years after playing in the USHL. I’m very fortunate to be where I am now and going to keep the hard work up. Hopefully I will be in the NHL sooner than later.”