Winnipeg Jets goalie Chris Mason took to the practice ice Monday, the first Jets player to hit the ice at the MTS Ice-Plex.

The veteran NHL hockey player, who saw action in 33 games last season for the Atlanta Thrashers, arrived in Winnipeg last night.

Mason, originally from Red Deer, Alta., says actually being in Winnipeg is making the Jets experience real for him. Jets players will spend a lot of time in the coming months practising at the MTS Ice-Plex in west Winnipeg and playing their home games at the downtown MTS Centre.

Mason says he got his first look at the MTS Centre.

"I just got a tour of the rink last night and it's just so exciting," he said. "My dad was with me and we got a chance to go see the rooms and take a peek at the rink and all that. It's really exciting."

Mason was drafted in the 5th round of the 1995 NHL draft and played for the St. Louis Blues prior to the Thrashers.

He says it's been his boyhood dream to finally play NHL hockey in Canada.

Mason took time to sign autographs for fans Monday and to show off his custom painted goalie mask featuring the mascot from heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

"We're starting to see all the Jets logos and the signs on the buildings downtown on Portage Avenue was pretty cool," he said. "It just feels real and I'm super excited."

The Jets' training camp officially begins on Sept. 17.